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Real Madrid beaten, Betis join Valencia on top

Other News Materials 19 September 2011 03:34
The Spanish league table looked unfamiliar late Sunday, with Betis and Valencia on top, and with twin giants Barcelona and Real Madrid third and fifth respectively, dpa reported.
Real Madrid beaten, Betis join Valencia on top

The Spanish league table looked unfamiliar late Sunday, with Betis and Valencia on top, and with twin giants Barcelona and Real Madrid third and fifth respectively, dpa reported.

Newly-promoted Betis joined Valencia on top with a 3-2 win at Athletic Bilbao, just after Real had surprisingly crashed 1-0 at Levante.

Betis, the surprise package of the season, have won all three games. They are level on nine points with Valencia, who won 1-0 at bottom team Sporting Gijon on Saturday.

Benat, Nacho and Salva Sevilla scored in the first half for Betis in Bilbao. Oscar de Marcos and David Lopez replied for Bilbao, but Betis managed to hold on, despite the late sending-off of defender Mario.

Bilbao have picked up just one point, and new coach Marcelo Bielsa is already in jeopardy.

Barcelona and Sevilla share second place, two points behind Betis and Valencia. Barca slaughtered Osasuna 8-0 on Saturday. Sevilla beat Real Sociedad 1-0.

Real Madrid share fifth place with Malaga - who won 1-0 at Mallorca on Saturday - both with six points.

Real left Levante's pitch complaining about the sending-off of midfielder Sami Khedira and about a possible penalty not given.

But the whites turned in a disjointed, lethargic performance and scarcely troubled Levante's veteran defence.

Real have not scored in their last three visits to Levante's Ciutat de Valencia stadium.

Real coach Jose Mourinho decided to leave Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench because of a heavy blow to the ankle in Wednesday's Champions League win in Zagreb. In his place was Kaka, who gave his umpteenth sluggish, disjointed display.

Levante are the oldest team in La Liga, with eight players in their starting line-up over 30. They defended solidly from start to finish, and goalkeeper Gustavo Munua had surprisingly little work to do.

In the 40th minute Khedira, who already had a yellow card, naively scuffled with Sergio Ballesteros, Levante's 36 year-old captain. Khedira earned himself a second yellow - and suddenly Real were in big trouble.

The only goal came in the 68th minute. Right-back Javi Venta, another of Levante's veterans, broke free down the right and centred for Ivory Coast striker Arouna Kone, who scored with a close-range blast.

Ronaldo came off the bench in the second half but failed to rescue the whites.

Earlier on Sunday, Atletico Madrid had scored their first win by thrashing Racing Santander, with newcomer Radamel Falcao banging in a hat-trick.

The Colombian striker, who also scored in Thursday's Europa League defeat of Celtic, is set to become the new Atletico idol, after the departure of Diego Forlan and Sergio Aguero.

Another of Sunday's goal-scoring heroes was Luis Garcia, who hit both goals in Zaragoza's 2-1 home defeat of Espanyol, his former club.

In Sunday's lunchtime match, Rayo Vallecano beat south Madrid neighbours Getafe 1-0 away, thanks to an early goal from Michu.

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