Ten-man Barcelona re-enforced their lead at the top of La Liga with a 2-1 win over fourth-placed Villarreal at El Madrigal.
The hosts took lead just after the interval when Cani took advantage of some poor defending to chip the ball over Victor Valdes.
But two goals in 10 minutes, from Seydou Keita and then Thierry Henry, saw runaway league leaders Barca hit back before Gerard Pique was shown a red card for a second bookable offence.
Barcelona dominated from the start with Henry, in particular, causing trouble for the hosts on the left.
It was the Frenchman who had the lion's share of the chances in the first half, none better than after three minutes, when after a delightful touch by Lionel Messi took a through ball from Xavi right into the path of Henry, who thumped the ball straight at Diego Lopez despite having only the 'keeper to beat.
Henry came close again 10 minutes later when, having received the ball from Eric Abidal on the left wing, he sent a shot across the front of goal which just shaved the right post.
Villarreal's best, and in fact only, chance of the first half came just moments later but Guiseppe Rossi repeated Henry's trick, shaving the right post after releasing a shot just to the left of goal.
Barcelona quickly shut the door on any more Villarreal chances and just for good measure Sergi Busquets sent a bullet of a shot racing towards the top left hand corner of the net that almost beat Lopez, the Spaniard doing brilliantly well to tip the ball behind for a corner.
The frustration got worse for Barcelona just after the interval as Villarreal got themselves on the score sheet within minutes of returning to the field.
Cani ran off the back off Gerard Pique and with only the 'keeper to beat and the Spaniard calmly lifted the ball over Valdes, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Barcelona quickly hit back though when Villarreal were caught napping in defence with Alves putting in looping cross which Keita bravely headed home running straight at the approaching fists of Lopez.
Ten minutes later and Henry finally had the goal he had been threatening all night, toe-poking a Xavi cross home on a first touch volley to give Barca the lead.
The final 20 minutes of the match were characterised by fraying tempers as a number of yellow cards were shown to both sides, including an unlucky Pique who was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence when Villarreal substitute Kahveci Nihat made a meal of a challenge in the air.
Samuel Eto'o, very quiet by his standards throughout the match, seemed to have a decent penalty shout when he went down under a Gonzalo Javier Rodriguez challenge.
But Villarreal were left kicking themselves for failing to capitalise on their one-man advantage as first Nahi and then Diego Godin missed golden chances to grab the equaliser in injury time.
Deportivo Coruna 4-1 Recreative Huelva
Depor's Alberto Lopo stuck out a leg to divert Ze Castro's miscued shot inside the post after nine minutes and Sergio converted a penalty to double the lead in the 20th. Recre pulled one back with an Adrian Colunga penalty three minutes later but an excellent header from Rodolfo Bodipo restored Depor's two-goal lead just before the break. Brazilian defender Filipe broke away to add the fourth at the end.
Numancia 4-3 Real Valladolid
Jose Barkero volleyed Numancia in front on a counter-attack early on but Valladolid levelled through Swedish striker Henok Goitom in the 34th minute. Valladolid were on course for their fifth win in six when Angel Vivar Dorado and Goitom made it 3-1 in the second half before Numancia struck back. Javier del Pino pulled one back in the 79th minute, Carlos Aranda headed the equaliser in the 88th and in time added on Gorka Brit headed the winner at a free kick.
Osasuna 5-2 Getafe
Osasuna swarmed all over Getafe and Czech Republic midfielder Jaroslav Plasil scored at the far post in the seventh minute. Juanfran finished off a swift break in the 34th and Uruguayan Walter Pandiani and Iranian Javad Nekounam added two more before the break. Getafe's Roberto Soldado pulled one back in the 66th and a second at the end, either side of a tap-in from Osasuna's Hector Font. It was Osasuna's second win of the season only.
Racing Santander 1-1 Malaga
Malaga broke the deadlock with a sweeping passing move that ended with French striker Nabil Baha volleying a goal in the 38th minute. Juan Valera levelled for Racing with a header from a corner in the 67th and Malaga's Duda hit the post near the end.
Real Mallorca 0-0 Sevilla
Sevilla failed to lift themselves from their midweek exit from the UEFA Cup putting in a poor display against Mallorca, who ended a run of three straight defeats with this draw.
Sporting Gijon 1-0 Almeria
Sporting's Francisco Maldonado headed the game's only goal after 28 minutes increasing the pressure on Almeria boss Gonzalo Arconada. Almeria have one win from their last 10 matches.
Real Madrid missed endless chances but still prevailed 1-0 over Valencia in La Liga thanks to a third-minute goal from Gonzalo Higuain.
In the second game on Saturday, Espanyol take on in-form Atletico Madrid. Follow that match by clicking the LIVE link below the picture.
Real Madrid 1-0 Valencia
An early Gonzalo Higuain goal was enough for Real Madrid to beat Valencia 1-0 as the Spanish champions moved, temporarily at least, up into fourth place in La Liga.
Real's Argentine forward scored the only goal in an often thrilling and frantic game. In truth the home side should have finished the game six or seven goals to the good, but a series of horrendous misses from their forward line meant the scoreline was kept respectable for Valencia.
The visitors' task was made more difficult in the second-half following the dismissal of their captain Marchena for a foul, and second yellow card, on Arjen Robben. It was a cruel blow: Marchena scarcely made contact with the diving Dutchman, yet Robben flew to the ground with enough vigour to convince the referee that the skipper had to go.
Playing the first match of the weekend gave Juande Ramos's side the chance to reduce the 12-point deficit on Barcelona at the top of the table. Their defeat in 'El Clasico' last weekend meant that the champions started the weekend in sixth place, four points behind Valencia in second.
For Unai Emery's side, the game was a chance to put their own pressure on the league leaders and they travelled to the capital in high spirits having beaten Real in their last league meeting at the Bernabeu.
It was Real, however, who dominated the early exchanges, and most of the crowd had yet to take their seats before Higuain got his team off to the perfect start in the third minute.
The Argentine collected a pass from the brilliant Robben and let fly, just inside the area, with an unstoppable shot which Renan could do nothing about.
Madrid's Dutchman was in sparkling form, creating chance after chance. Indeed, the former Chelsea favourite should have put his team into the lead twice soon after Higuain's opener. But Renan saved smartly to thwart the first attempt before a second opportunity saw Robben hesitate and the Valencia defence recover.
A Van der Vaart curler onto the post saw Madrid edge closer to a second goal before, gradually, the visitors came back into the game.
Valencia's own flying winger, Joaquin, provided a series of killer passes into the Madrid box only for David Villa to launch the best high into the Bernabeu stand behid the goal.
And it was Villa again who had his team's next promising chance but for Iker Casillas to save smartly low to his right.
The second-half took on a similar pattern with Real looking for an early second goal. But it was Casillas who had to look sharp to deny a powerful Baraja header from six yards after five minutes.
It was a wonderful save but better was to come from Renan shortly afterwards, as he showed tremenduos reflexes to prevent Higuain from rolling the ball into an empty net at the other end.
The miss seemed to dent Higuain's confidence as the striker launched a series of excellent chances wide, high and off the crossbar.
It was towards the final stages that Valencia were reduced to ten men with Marchena's dismissal, and it already looked as if the match was beyond them.
Yet despite the reduction the visitors finished strongly, albeit not strongly enough to deny Madrid their valuable three points. The win puts a halt to their losing league run and moves them to within nine points of Barcelona.
Renato Dirnei's goal helped Sevilla stumble past 10-man Villarreal and leapfrog their visitors to go third in La Liga.
Sevilla 1 - 0 Villarreal
Renato's goal at the end of the first half gave Sevilla a deserved 1-0 victory over Villarreal goal at decided the end in a one-sided encounter at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.
Renato's goal, which came just seconds before the break, was a well-deserved reward for the home team's work at the end of a dull first half - though the goal when it came had more than a hint of offside about it.
From a corner it looked as if Villarreal had cleared the danger, but Escude headed the ball back to Kanoute, who seemed on the replay to be behind the defence at the time.
Kanoute controlled the ball for the onrushing Renato - also seemingly in an offside position at the critical moment - and the Brazilian dinked a little chip around Lopez's outstretched legs.
It was a pretty finish, and well deserved on the balance of play against a side which scarcely troubled the Sevilla defence from start to finish.
It took the second-half dismissal of Villarreal striker Joseba Llorente, and the subsequent reshaping of the team, to ever make the visitors look like scoring as several counter-attacks presented half-chances for Cazorla and Senna.
Yet as the 10-man side pressed for an equaliser they left gaps at the back that were exploited ruthlessly by Adriano Correia, Sevilla's Brazilian left-winger, who looked relentlessly dangerous throughout.
Adriano found himself unmarked and alone nine yards from goal on 72 minutes, and blasted a drive for what everyone in the stadium though must be the goal to confirm the result.
Everyone, that is, except Lopez in the Villarreal goal. The man who frustrated Manchester United so artfully in this year's Champions League encounters once again wore his magic gloves, saving several shots that looked like nailed-on certainties to lead to goals.
For their part, Sevilla were wasteful of both possession and opportunities. Given their domination of the match - 26 shots to four - they should have won by two or three goals, but time and again the final ball was either too long or too ill-placed for the attackers to latch on.
In the end, Villarreal just didn't have enough legs to compensate for their missing person, and Sevilla stumbled to a one-goal victory that leapfrogs them over their visitors into third place in La Liga.
Atletico Madrid 2 - 0 Real Betis
Atletico Madrid won a spirited contest against Real Betis thanks to goals from Maxi Rodriguez and Sergio Aguero that puts them ahead of arch-rivals Real Madrid in La Liga.
The match got off to an inauspicious start for Betis, who very nearly gifted their hosts two goals in the opening couple of minutes with a collection of defensive mix-ups that almost let first Diego Forlan then Sergio Aguero to score.
Once they settled in, however, Betis gave Atletico a great game of football that could have gone either way. Sergio Garcia was their chief tormentor, time and again running into space that gave him opportunity to shoot.
But it was Atletico who made the best of the ball when they had it. Forlan and Maniche both had great chances, and then on 20 minutes the home side went ahead through a brilliant piece of quick-thinking football.
Aguero played a through ball to a fast-running Maxi Rodriguez, who controlled the ball brilliantly on his chest before smashing a perfect drive into the bottom right corner.
The two coaches patched up the previously open defences at half-time, resulting in a tighter match with fewer chances. Betis went close twice through 'Juanma' Sanchez, but Atletico held on with plenty of men behind the ball and playing on the break.
Their tactic bore fruit on 81 minutes as Aguero latched on to Forlan's quick through ball on the counter.
The 20-year-old made no mistake in beating Casto Espinosa on the right. It gave the home side a flattering but ultimately deserved second goal that put the result beyond any doubt.
Athletic Bilbao 3 - 0 Sporting de Gijon
Fernando Llorente put the home side in front from the penalty spot after only five minutes before Andoni Iraola doubled the lead in the 22nd, scrambling in at a corner.
David Lopez met Fran Yeste's pinpoint cross with a far post volley for the third in the 31st.
Getafe 4 - 1 Mallorca
Getafe's Nigeria striker Ikechukwu Uche won a dubious penalty which Cosmin Contra converted after 15 minutes, but there was no doubt about Uche's goal in the 31st when he broke clear to finish with a cool lob.
Mallorca pulled one back two minutes later through Aritz Aduriz from close range, but late goals from Manu del Moral and Jaime Gavilan made sure of Mallorca's third consecutive defeat.
Malaga 2 - 0 Numancia
Malaga dominated but failed to breach the visitors' defence until they were awarded a questionable penalty in the 85th minute, which Apono put away.
French striker Nabil Baha broke from the halfway line to make sure of the points at the end.
Valladolid 3 - 0 Deportivo La Coruna
Jonathan Sesma tipped in Pedro Leon's cross after 15 minutes and Pedro Lopez caught out visiting keeper Daniel Aranzubia from 40 metres with a spectacular looping shot in the 25th.
After the break, Valladolid's Fabian Canobbio had a shot pushed onto the post but soon after Leon made it 3-0, dribbling down the right wing and firing into the far top corner to crown an impressive display.
Recreativo Huelva 1 - 0 Osasuna
Osasuna had a string of chances as they chased their first away win and midway through the second half striker Dady rounded the keeper only to shoot wide of the empty goal.
Huelva earned their first home win six minutes from time when Adrian Colunga raced through to shoot low into the corner.
Almeria 1 - 1 Racing Santander
Racing took the lead after 33 minutes when Argentine defender Ezequiel Garay drilled a shot in the top corner from 25 yards.
Almeria's Peruvian defender Santiago Acasiete smashed a superb volley just under the bar to level in the 62nd, easing the pressure on his coach Gonzalo Arconada. Santander had Mehdi Lacen sent off near the end.
source : www.yahoo.com
Barcelona extended their lead at the top of La Liga to eight points after late goals from Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi gave them a 2-0 home win over Real Madrid in Juande Ramos's first game as manager.
Cameroon striker Eto'o poked the ball over the line after Carles Puyol headed a corner back across goal on 83 minutes.
Messi sealed the win in injury-time after Madrid over-committed men forward and Thierry Henry surged down the right before picking out his strike partner, who lofted the ball deftly over Iker Casillas and beyond the desperate lunge of Fabio Cannavaro.
The result all-but ended Madrid's hopes of launching a title bid and proved that, for all their pretty football, Pep Guardiola's side have the mental strength to grind out wins in big matches.
Until the first goal, Madrid keeper Iker Casillas had turned in a man-of-the-match performance - including a penalty save from Eto'o - as Madrid's oft-criticised defence put their bodies on the line in a desperate attempt to kick-start their floundering domestic season.
Barcelona started the game at a frantic pace and the pre-match nine-point difference between the sides was clear as Real Madrid found themselves launching a rearguard action from the whistle.
Messi was the subject of rough treatment with Michel Salgado, Royston Drenthe and Sergio Ramos all kicking the Argentina star to make their destructive intentions clear.
That did not stop the diminutive playmaker from giving Madrid a torrid time. In the fifth minute he escaped from Cannavaro and Sergio Ramos to drill a low shot across goal that Iker Casillas did well to parry one-handed.
Henry went close with a drive into the side netting and Real had Cannavaro to thank when he manfully blocked Messi after a slick one-two with Eto'o.
All this was before the eighth minute and while Barca's tempo did slow they still had the lion's share of possession.
Yaya Toure and Eric Abidal were almost unlikely scorers for Los Cules but they were denied by desperate defending from the visitors, while Henry saw another shot blocked.
Despite Barca's dominance, Real actually created two of the best chances of the opening 45 minutes.
Before he was replaced for clearly not being fully-fit after injury, a Wesley Sneijder shot forced Victor Valdes to tip the ball onto the bar, while Drenthe should have scored when he raced clear of Daniel Alves but was denied by a brave Valdes save.
Referee Luis Medina Cantalejo lost patience with Madrid's physical approach and there was a flurry of yellow cards shown towards the end of the first half.
The first part of Madrid's job was done though, with Barca frustrated at half-time.
The second period started in a similar fashion. Barcelona controlled possession and created chance after chance but twice Eto'o could not capitalise on Messi's delivery.
Madrid were still dangerous on the break, with Gonzalo Higuain denied by a last-ditch tackle from Carles Puyol after an incisive through-ball by Fernando Gago.
Their game-plan also began to take its toll on the Catalan side. As the game progressed Barca misplaced passes, went for extended spells without instigating a passing move and failed to create chances with the same frequency.
Their frustration spilled over and Rafael Marquez was fortunate not to pick up a second yellow card when he slid late into Raul.
But 20 minutes into the second half, Los Cules found their rhythm again. Suddenly Real were not getting a sniff as their hosts pummelled the Madrid penalty area and were only denied by some phenomenal goalkeeping.
Casillas is the best keeper in Spain and arguably the top shot-stopper in the world and he pulled off a superb 70th-minute penalty save from Eto'o after Salgado brought down Sergio Busquets.
Two minutes later he made a quite incredible double stop from Eto'o and Messi, who thought he had an open goal after his team-mate's low shot was kept out by the Spain keeper.
But it was not to be for Juande Ramos and Real's defence were caught ball-watching when Puyol rose to head the ball into the six-yard box.
Eto'o got a faint touch on the ball, which seemed to cross the line in slow motion as young substitute Miguel Palanca failed to clear the ball.
Real were broken and, as they send men forward in a desperate attempt to grab an equaliser, they afforded Henry the freedom of the right wing to pick out Messi, who had the last laugh in the face of his earlier aggressors.
Madrid are now 12 points behind Real Madrid and could slip down to seventh if results go against them.
source : www.yahoo.com
Renato headed home Frederic Kanoute's right-wing cross to decide a pulsating encounter that saw Madrid reduced to 10 men when Arjen Robben was sent off on 77 minutes.
The result lifted Sevilla above Real Madrid and into fourth place in La Liga, with Bernd Schuster's team dropping to fifth - nine points behind leaders Barcelona, who they face next week.
Sevilla went ahead on six minutes when Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas misjudged a right-wing cross and presented Adriano Correia with a simple tap-in.
But Madrid levelled on 19 minutes, when Raul stooped to head home Guti's free-kick from the right and claim his 302nd goal for Madrid.
Sevilla regained the lead just three minutes later, however, when Romaric headed home Renato's fine cross from the right.
To the astonishment of the home fans, Sevilla went further ahead on 39 minutes. Madrid were caught napping in their own penalty area and Kanoute pounced to calmly slot home.
The second half saw Madrid finally begin to play to their potential. Gonzalo Higuain crashed a superb shot past Andres Palop on 67 minutes to make it 3-2, then Fernando Gago headed home a Guti free-kick to complete a remarkable comeback.
Madrid almost went ahead when Higuain went round Palop and struck the bar with his shot. But the Madrid players thought the goalkeeper had fouled the Argentine and Robben protested so strongly he earned himself a second yellow card and his marching orders.
Sevilla sensed their opportunity against the 10 men of Madrid and when Kanoute found himself in acres of space on the right flank he took his time before picking out the unmarked Renato to head home the winner.
DEPORTIVO CORUNA 2-0 MALAGA
Malaga had Depor on the ropes until Inaki Goitia let Angel Lafita's free kick slip through his hands in the 65th minute.
Mexico striker Omar Bravo theatrically went to ground for a penalty soon after, and secured the win himself from the spot.
NUMANCIA 2-1 ALMERIA
Under-pressure Almeria coach Gonzalo Arconada had an unhappy return to his former club despite Argentine forward Esteban Solari giving the visitors an early lead from the penalty spot.
Javier del Pino levelled after a counter-attack in the 19th minute and Asier Goiria was offside when he netted the winner in the 52nd. Numancia had Jose Barkero sent off in the 68th.
OSASUNA 3-3 REAL VALLADOLID
Osasuna dominated and Portuguese striker Dady headed them into the lead after 17 minutes. Iran midfielder Javad Nekonam doubled the lead with a volley before the break and Dady made it 3-0 in the 57th.
Valladolid's fightback started when Swedish striker Henok Goitom scored from close range on the hour, and then Miguel Flano headed into his own net at a free kick. Bartholomew Ogbeche headed the equaliser from another free kick in the 85th.
RACING SANTANDER 1-1 ATHLETIC BILBAO
Bilbao's Fran Yeste broke the deadlock in the north-coast derby with a deflected free kick in the 49th minute, but they had Pablo Orbaiz sent off in the 77th.
Gonzalo Colsa's cross-cum-shot in the 83rd caught out Gorka Iraizoz as it drifted over him at the back post. Bilbao's Fernando Amorebieta missed an open goal in the last minute.
REAL BETIS 1-1 ESPANYOL
Espanyol hit the woodwork twice in the first half but Betis took the lead when Cameroon midfielder Achille Emana scored his fifth goal in as many games in the 57th minute.
Substitute Ferran Corominas earned a point for new Espanyol coach Mane with a fine piece of skill in the 71st, ending a run of four straight defeats for the visitors.
REAL MALLORCA 2-3 RECREATIVO HUELVA
David Navarro's diving header put Mallorca ahead in the 16th minute but Argentine Marco Ruben's neat finish levelled the scores nine minutes later.
Jurado put Mallorca back in front on a swift break only for Adrian Colunga to equalise again in the 43rd with a well-worked move. Javi Fuego's long-range shot secured new Recre coach Lucas Alcaraz his first win since taking over in early October.
source : www.yahoo.com
Daniel Alves was also on target for Pep Guardiola's side, who are now unbeaten in 20 matches and six points clear of second-placed Villarreal in the league. Henry put the home side ahead on 20 minutes, racing onto Yaya Toure's pass and lifting the ball over Valencia goalkeeper Bitto Renan. The Frenchman doubled his tally seven minutes later, collecting Alexander Hleb's neat pass inside the box and calmly slotting home to put Barca 2-0 up. Barca went 3-0 ahead barely a minute into the second half, when the influential Xavi sent Alves through on the right. The wing-back gathered himself before firing firmly into the opposite corner. Valencia were not happy, however, as a flag had been raised against Hleb earlier in the move, but it was ignored by the referee. Barca completed the rout on 79 minutes, when substitute Bojan Krkic cut inside from the right and dragged the ball back to provide Henry with a straighforward tap-in to complete his hat-trick. It was another dominant performance from Barcelona, who attacked with real purpose and completely overwhelmed Valencia. The visitors struggled to assert themselves and barely created anything of note.
Villarreal 3-3 Getafe
Villarreal staged a remarkable comeback to draw 3-3 with in-form Getafe at El Madrigal and avoid falling to a second successive home defeat in La Liga. Estaban Granero, Jaime Gavilan and Javier Casquero were on target for the visitors, who led 3-0 inside half an hour to leave Manuel Pellegrini's side stunned. But Robert Pires's fortunate goal on 55 minutes gave Villarreal hope, before late strikes from Sebastian Eguren and Giuseppe Rossi salvaged an unlikely point and kept the home side in touch with league leaders Barcelona.
Getafe entered the match on the back with confidence high after victory over Real Madrid, and went ahead on 10 minutes when Granero chested the ball before firing an exquisite volley into the top corner. Gavilan put the visitors two up soon after, taking Cosmin Contra's right-wing cross on the volley to fire back across goal into the bottom corner.
On 30 minutes Casquero's left-foot shot from the edge of the box beat Diego Lopez and gave mid-table Getafe a 3-0 cushion at the break. But Villarreal would not lie down. On 55 minutes a goalmouth scramble resulted in a bizarre goal for Pires, when a clearance struck the Frenchman on the chest and looped in. The home side pulled another goal back with five minutes remaining when Diego Leal headed back across goal for Eguren to poke home. Their comeback was complete two minutes later, when former Manchester United forward Rossi drove home through a crowd of players to make it 3-3.
Sporting Gijon 2-5 Atletico Madrid
Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan led Atletico Madrid to a 5-2 comeback win at Sporting Gijon in another thriller. Sporting's Mate Bilic scored with a header after four minutes but two minutes later Argentine Aguero controlled the ball on his chest and finished with a spectacular overhead kick. In the pouring rain the Sporting keeper spilled a shot for Aguero to poach his second and Uruguay's Forlan stole the ball off a defender to make it 3-1 in the 57th.
David Barral pulled it back to 3-2 with a thunderous shot before Maxi Rodriguez and Forlan made sure of the win for the visitors. Atletico climbed to fifth with 24 points.