La Liga: Villarreal snatch win, Sevilla upset Madrid
MADRID, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Villarreal came from two goals down to snatch a dramatic 4-3 win at Atletico Madrid thanks to a late double from substitute Nihat Kahveci in an action-packed Primera Liga match on Sunday.
The win lifted Villarreal into second place, one point behind Real Madrid who lost 2-0 at Sevilla on Saturday.
Atletico got off to a roaring start at the Calderon, with centre-back Pablo Ibanez skimming home a header in the eighth minute and Portugal winger Simao Sabrosa curling a superbly struck shot into the corner midway through the half.
Villarreal hit back with two goals before the break, Italian striker Giuseppe Rossi hooking the ball over keeper Leo Franco and centre-back Fabricio Fuentes taking advantage of an error in defence to smash home from close range.
Atletico striker Maxi Rodriguez missed the chance to restore his side's lead when he fluffed a penalty early in the second half but fellow Argentine Sergio Aguero put them 3-2 up when he scored his seventh of the season with a 62nd-minute header.
True to form, however, they let their lead slip once more when substitute Nihat cashed in on another defensive error to clip the ball past Franco and the Turkish international completed a dramatic comeback win with another strike in the final minute.
A Thierry Henry special and two trademark free kicks from Ronaldinho earned Barcelona a 3-0 win at home to Real Betis that put them within a point of leaders Real Madrid at the top of the Primera Liga on Sunday.
Barcelona had come under heavy fire after their laboured performance in a 1-1 midweek draw with Valladolid, but they looked more alert at the Nou Camp on Sunday.
Henry, who last week admitted that he was struggling to adapt to Barca's style of play, hit the post early on and then put the Catalans ahead with a goal reminiscent of his Arsenal days.
Midfielder Andres Iniesta hit a sharp first-time ball into the path of the Frenchman who raced past the static back four and poked a low shot under Ricardo without breaking stride.
Ronaldinho made it 2-0 when he curled a magnificent free kick over the wall and past the helpless Ricardo eight minutes after the break and wrapped up with another which crept in at the near post in added time.
At the other end of the table, Italy striker Christian Rigano hit a first-half hat-trick to earn basement side Levante their first victory of the season with a 3-0 win at home to Almeria.
Rigano notched his first with just 20 seconds on the clock, coolly slotted past keeper David Cobeno after racing clear when Almeria lost the ball from the kickoff.
He added a second when he looped a clever shot into the net after stealing the ball from between two defenders and completed his hat-trick when he side-footed home after a great cross from Riga in the 34th minute.
Despite Rigano's efforts Levante remain anchored to the bottom of the table with just four points from 11 games.
Athletic claimed a first home win of the season thanks to a double from winger Joseba Etxeberria.
The former Spain international scored his first when he ghosted in at the far post after Andoni Iraola had swept a great pass behind the Recreativo back four and notched his second eight minutes later, snapping home after keeper Stefano Sorrentino failed to clear off his line.
Sunday also saw a second win in a row for Michael Laudrup's Getafe whose victory came courtesy of an 80th-minute penalty from Pablo Hernandez and a late strike from midfielder Esteban Granero.
Osasuna defender Cesar Cruchaga was sent off as result of the penalty incident.
Striker Mohamed Tchite put Racing Santander in front against Espanyol when he netted a rebound after Carlos Kameni had stopped a penalty from Ezequiel Garay 10 minutes after the break.
The game looked to have drifted away from Espanyol when Ferran Corominas was sent off for a wild tackle.
But striker Raul Tamudo came to the rescue with a last-minute penalty to earn the Catalans an important away point.
A first win in four games for Deportivo won their first in four games at Murcia.
Striker Xisco scored the opener early in the second half when he raced clear and fired into the top corner and Mexico midfielder Andres Guardado made sure of the win with another cool finish 18 minutes from time.
Zaragoza suffered their first home defeat of the season despite taking the lead through a deflected shot from Ricardo Oliveira in the 13th minute.
Valladolid stormed back with three goals in the space of six minutes, pint-size striker Victor hitting the first two and midfielder Alvaro Rubio adding a wonderful third before Zaragoza had time to react.
Diego Milito's 90th-minute strike came too late for the home side.
Yesterday, Quickfire goals from midfielder Seydou Keita and striker Luis Fabiano earned Sevilla a 2-0 home victory over leaders Real Madrid in a pulsating Primera Liga match.
Mali international Keita put Sevilla ahead when he sent an unstoppable long-distance shot fizzing into the back of the net on 19 minutes and Luis Fabiano made it 2-0 before Real had a chance to respond when he smashed home a rebound.
Real were reduced to 10 men early in the second half when former Sevilla defender Sergio Ramos was sent off after picking up a second booking for a foul on Diego Capel.
Real stayed top of the table despite their second defeat of the season and Sevilla remained in 10th place on 15 points but have a game in hand. The islanders looked the more dangerous side for most of the match but Morientes made the most of two isolated chances to give his side a win that eased the tension after heavy defeats by Sevilla and Real Madrid.
The action at the Sanchez Pizjuan got off to a breathless start as the two sides gave no quarter in the midfield and looked to attack at every opportunity.
It was Sevilla, though, who looked the sharper of the two sides as they tested the Real defence with a series of high-speed attacks and took the lead with a stunning strike from Keita on 19 minutes.
Casillas had no chance as the former Lens midfielder let fly from 25 metres after the ball fell to him following a poor clearance.
Real were still dusting themselves down when Sevilla hit them again, Brazilian striker Luis Fabiano scoring his seventh goal of the season when he fired in after Casillas had blocked a stinging shot from Frederic Kanoute.
Sevilla were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty four minutes later when speedy winger Jesus Navas was brought down by Mahamadou Diarra in the area but the referee waved play on.
Real suffered another setback with the Ramos sending-off, but Sevilla were unable to extend their lead despite their numerical advantage.
Luis Fabiano blazed over the bar after beating the offside trap two minutes after the dismissal and Capel missed the target in the closing stages following a fine run into the area.