Bale stars in Madrid rout
Gareth Bale bagged a brace and provided two assists as Real Madrid defeated Sevilla 7-3 in a goal fest at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.
A Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick and two goals to the under-pressure Karim Benzema sealed the rout as Carlo Ancelotti's side moved within two points of Atletico Madrid, albeit with a game in hand over their rivals.
Ronaldo, fresh from his angry reaction to comments about him by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, was backed by the Madrid faithful, who sang his name throughout the game, while fans behind the goal where he scored his second and third goals held up a banner saying: "Cristiano, the fans are with you."
Bale, who had a disappointing performance during the 2-1 defeat at Barcelona on the weekend and was subsequently mocked by the Catalan media, also produced a fine reaction, opening the scoring with a stunning curled effort and then doubling the lead from a free-kick with the help of a deflection.
Madrid appeared to be on their way to a comfortable victory after 32 minutes after Ronaldo's penalty made it three, but goals from Sevilla's Carlos Bacca and Ivan Rakitic set up an interesting second half.
Karim Benzema ended a two-month goal drought for Los Blancos by adding the fourth goal after the break and then had the last word by scoring the seventh.
In between times Ronaldo scored a further two, while Rakitic got another for the visitors, as well as missing a second penalty. In the midst of the madness, Sevilla midfield Stephane Mbia was sent off for two bookings.
Real Valladolid staged a late fightback as they came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Real Sociedad, but they were denied a win by Patrick Ebert's injury-time penalty miss.
The visitors looked to be cruising when Antoine Griezmann scored early in each half of Wednesday night's Primera Division clash.
But Daniel Larsson's goal in the 76th minute turned the match on its head, with Javi Guerra equalising three minutes later before Ebert wasted a golden chance to seal a remarkable comeback when his penalty was saved by Claudio Bravo.
Rock-bottom Almeria conjured the result of the league so far this season with a shock come-from-behind 2-1 victory at Valencia.
Without a win from their 10 league matches to date, and on a wretched run of five successive defeats, bookmakers were offering odds of 28-1 on a Almeria triumph.
But despite conceding a penalty to Jonas just after the half hour, Francisco Javier Rodriguez's side produced a second-half fightback with goals from Marco Torsiglieri and Aleix Vidal.
The loss was Valencia's third in a row in the league and is likely to place Serbian coach Miroslav Djukic under considerable pressure.
Osasuna claimed their third win of the season as they leapfrogged Rayo Vallecano following an eventful 3-1 victory.
Oier Sanjurjo had them ahead with an early goal and it was not long before Oriol Riera had doubled the lead.
A goal from Roberto Torres looked to have sealed the win but Miguel de las Cuevas was sent off and Alejandro Galvez reduced the arrears to produce a tense last 20 minutes.