Villarreal joint second after beating Atletico Madrid
Villarreal stayed joint second in the Spanish Liga on Sunday with a hard-fought 2-0 home defeat of Atletico Madrid, on goals from Cani and Guiseppe Rossi, dpa reported.
Cani shot the hosts ahead in the 10th minute after being set up by Brazilian forward Nilmar. Rossi made it 2-0 eight minutes into the second half by culminating a glorious move that involved six Villarreal players.
The yellows now have 19 points from eight games, the same as champions Barcelona, who won 2-0 away to bottom team Zaragoza on Saturday thanks to two goals from Lionel Messi.
Villarreal and Barca are just one point behind leaders Real Madrid. On Saturday Jose Mourinho's hungry young team thrashed Racing Santander 6-1, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring four goals for the first time in his career.
Valencia have fallen down to fourth, three points behind Villarreal and Barca, after crashing 2-1 at home to Mallorca on Saturday.
In fifth place, just one point behind Valencia, are surprise package Espasnyol, who beat Levante 2-1 on Sunday with goals from Jesus Datolo and Jose Callejon.
Sevilla, meanwhile, moved up to sixth with an eventful 4-3 defeat of Athletic Bilbao, in which old partners Luis Fabiano and Frederic Kanoute scored two goals each.
New Sevilla coach Gregorio Manzano said, "It was a crazy match towards the end and anything could have happened. But I think that we just about deserved to win."
In seventh place are Getafe, who thrashed Sporting Gijon 3-0 with goals from Derek Boateng, Ivan Marcano and Adrian Colunga.
Another team to win 3-0 was Osasuna, who overcame Malaga thanks to strikes from Iranians Massoud Shojael and Javad Nekounam, plus one from veteran Carlos Aranda.
Sunday's other early game was a 1-1 draw between Almeria and Hercules. Nelson Valdez gave Hercules the lead, Leonardo Ulloa hit a late equalizer for Almeria.
The eighth round of matches will finish on Monday with fallen giants Deportivo Coruna away to Real Sociedad.
Deportivo are second from bottom, just one point above hapless Zaragoza.