La Liga Week 9 round-up: Levante go top for first time in La Liga, Javi Varas denies Barcelona and Ronaldo brings Malaga back down to earth

Week 9 of La Liga had its fair share of drama and even some history, but there is only one-place to start, and that is with Levante’s brilliant 3-0 win at Villarreal on Sunday night as a Juanlu brace and emphatic Arouna Kone finish put the modest side top of La Liga for the first time in their 102-year history.

The early kick-off on Sunday saw Ray Vallecano beat fellow promoted side Real Betis in Sevilla as Lass and Sergio Koke secured the three points in the final 10 minutes whilst Real Sociedad and Getafe played out an uneventful and drab 0-0 draw in San Sebastian.

Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid managed to end their goal drought, but they still couldn’t pick up a win as Mallorca held them to a 1-1 draw at the Vicente Calderon. Tomer Hemed gave the visitors the lead just two minutes into the match, but Atletico’s record-signing Radamel Falcao won and converted a penalty himself just before the break.

Osasuna grabbed only their second win of the season this weekend as a goal each from Raul Garcia, Juan Martinez and Javad Nekounam saw them comfortably overcome a lacklustre Real Zaragoza side who remain in 14th place.

The other match to take place on Sunday was played out between Valencia and Athletic Bilbao. Marcelo Bielsa’s side looked like they were going to claim their third win of the season thanks to Iker Muniain’s delightful curling effort on 71 minutes, but Unai Emery’s men salvaged a point moments from the final whistle as Roberto Soldado did brilliantly to control an Ever Banega pass before dodging the goalkeeper and sliding home.

Saturday night was far from dull also and started off with Espanyol moving themselves into the top half of the table with a 1-0 win at Racing Santander thanks to a Sergio Garcia strike as the former Betis man received a brilliant pass by Joan Verdu.

Sporting Gijon, who played valiantly in defeat at Sevilla last weekend, picked up their first win of the season as David Barral gave the Asturian’s an early lead from a tight angle before Andre Castro secured the win three minutes before half time with an easy tap-in.

The first of the two big matches on the night saw Real Madrid show Malaga they are still some way from competing with La Liga’s top dogs, blitzing the Anchovies with a brilliant first-half demolition that saw the Blanco’s lead 4-0 at half time.

Gonzalo Higuain put the visitors ahead after 11 minutes as he beat the offside trap before rounding Ruben Martinez in the hosts’ net. Cristiano Ronaldo soon took centre stage as he first got on the end of an Angel Di Maria cross, followed by a good strike from the edge of the area and then completing the scoring and his hat-trick with an acrobatic flick from a corner.

After Real’s match, Barcelona had the task of getting past Sevilla who were also unbeaten thus far, but the champions couldn’t break down their visitors as Martin Caceres, Federico Fazio and Julien Escude all put in marvellous defensive display’s. However it was goalkeeper Javi Varas who received much of the plaudits.

The 29-year-old managed 12 saves, including one from a 95th minute Leo Messi penalty and put in one of the finest goalkeeping displays you are ever likely to see. Sevilla also had two players sent off as Fernando Navarro and Fredi Kanoute both received their matching orders in stoppage time.

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