La Liga Round 4 Results: Roque Santa Cruz scores twice as Betis go top on their own following 4-3 win over Zaragoza

The Andalusians scored two penalties, survived a red card and a late comeback from the visitors to secure a fourth straight win since returning to the top flight in the summer

La Liga: Round 4


Tuesday SEPTEMBER 20

Wednesday SEPTEMBER 21
 Real Sociedad - Granada
1-0  Racing - Real Madrid 0-0
 Osasuna - Sevilla
0-0  Rayo Vallecano - Levante 1-2
 Villarreal - Mallorca
2-0  Malaga - Athletic Bilbao 1-0

Atletico Madrid - Sporting 4-0
     Valencia - Barcelona 2-2
   Thursday SEPTEMBER 22
  Espanyol - Getafe 1-0

  Real Betis - Zaragoza 4-3

Real Sociedad
Phillipe Montanier's Real Sociedad side have jumped to fifth in the league after a deserving 1-0 victory over Granada, needing a second-half goal to earn three important points.

Both clubs struggled early to test the opposing goalkeeper, but the home side found the breakthrough 20 minutes into the second period. Outside of the box, Daniel Estrada hit a curling shot into the top left-hand corner, leaving Roberto Fernandez with no chance.

Sociedad managed to make timely tackles and hold on to the majority of the possession, not allowing the La Liga newcomers to earn a share of the spoils in the dying minutes.

Granada remain in 15th place in the league with this loss.

Osasuna were the better side throughout, but neither club could find the net in a 0-0 draw at Reyno De Navarra.

The game was open with the home side managing more chances, but Sevilla's Javi Varas was vital in goal, saving numerous threats with acrobatic diving saves. Frederic Kanoute was not much of a factor for the visitors, failing to truly test Andres Fernandez. Jesus Navas had his chances for Sevilla, but producing much in the attack proved difficult for the Spain international.

In the 74th minute, it appeared that Osasuna would be given a clear chance to score with a penalty kick, but Diego Perotti's clear handball in the box was not rewarded by official Carlos Del Cerro Grande.

Sevilla remain undefeated with eight points from four games, one point behind leaders Valencia and Real Betis.

After entering the day in the relegation zone of Spain's top flight and not having tasted victory in their first three games, Villarreal jumped into 12th place after dominating Mallorca 2-0 thanks to goals by Giuseppe Rossi and Nilmar.

The home side were superior in the first half and took the advantage early as Rossi found the net just seven minutes in after Jose Catala sent the Italian striker through on goal, finishing past a charging Dudu Aouate.

The Yellow Submarine found their second in the second half after Borja Valero sent Nilmar through, with the Brazilian finishing calmly as he went solo against the Israeli goalkeeper.

After the second goal, the visitors had their chances, but Diego Lopez made some solid saves, including a stop from Alejandro Alfaro to eliminate any doubt of a potential comeback.

The visitors, who have lost three in a row after winning their first game of the season, remain in 15th place, and coach Michael Laudrup may see his position put under scrutiny as a result of this setback.
Racing Santander
Real Madrid
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Jose Mourinho's side were once again unable to break the deadlock, and were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw against Racing on Wednesday evening.

Rayo Vallecano
Rayo's impressive start to the season came to a halt as Levante ran out 2-1 winners over the hosts at Estadio del Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday evening.

Goals in the first half from Sergio Ballesteros and Valdo were enough to seal the points before Raul Tamudo's consolation in the second period to hand Jose Ramon Sandoval's side their first defeat of the season.

Levante took the lead within 10 minutes, when Valdo headed in a Kone cross, and Ballesteros doubled the advantage when he nodded in from the penalty spot following a corner from Barkero.

The hosts gained a goal back in the 72nd minute when Raul Tamudo struck the ball with power past Gimenez in goal, but it wasn't enough, and Levante ended a wonderful week by claiming another three points.
Athletic Bilbao
Malaga made it three wins on the bounce and resigned Athletic Bilbao to another defeat as they came out 1-0 winners at La Rosaleda.

Santi Cazorla once again made the difference for the hosts as it was his spectacular free-kick just after the hour mark that proved to be the elusive goal in the game.

Bilbao had the majority of the possession in the match, but were unable to convert this into many chances, which allowed Malaga to feel their way into the game and grab the set-piece winner.

Both sides have European aspirations this season, and it proved to be an even contest for most of the match before Cazorla found the net and gave Manuel Pellegrini's side nine points in their last three games, to heap more misery on Bilbao, and coach Marcelo Bielsa.
Atletico Madrid
Sporting Gijon
Atletico Madrid followed up last weekend's thumping 4-0 win over Racing by handing Sporting Gijon a similarly comprehensive thrashing on Wednesday evening.

Star striker Radamel Falcao was once again the hero, netting twice in the last 20 minutes to take his total to six goals in the last week.

Lora's unfortunate own goal handed the home side the lead on the half hour mark, and the points were sealed on 68 minutes as defender Alvaro Dominguez powered home a second.

Then Falcao took over; the Colombian swept home Gabi's assist before heading home a cross from the same player, to clinch three wins in the space of the week for Gregorio Manzano's side.
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In an end-to-end contest at the Mestalla, Barcelona twice came from a goal behind to secure a 2-2 draw against league leaders Valencia.
Walter Pandiani was the hero for Espanyol on Thursday evening as he came off the bench to score the only goal of the game in added time and seal all three points for the Barcelona-based side in an entertaining encounter at home to Getafe.

Pandiani came on with 14 minutes remaining and was left with a simple finish after Getafe keeper Miguel Angel Moya had stuck out a foot to block Rui Fonte's cross, but saw the ball go only as far as the Uruguayan, who gratefully slotted home from close range his first goal since returning to Espanyol on transfer deadline day.

Earlier on, there had been chances for both sides, but Espanyol created the majority of the opportunities, with Alvaro Vazquez, Javi Marquez and Joan Verdu all coming close.

It looked as if the home side would be frustrated as the clock ticked towards the final whistle, but up popped Pandiani in the first minute of injury time to make it two home wins out of two for the Catalans, who move into the top half.

Getafe, meanwhile, are second to bottom with just one point from their four games.
Real Betis
Betis are all alone at the top of the Primera Division after beating Zaragoza 4-3 in an epic match in Seville on Thursday night.

The Andalusians led 2-1 at the break and had added two more before five minutes of the second half had passed, but were made to suffer late in the game as keeper Casto Espinosa was sent off and Zaragoza mounted a rousing fightback.

The home side went ahead after seven minutes, when Roque Santa Cruz fired home a Javi Chica cross from close range. And the locals' lead was doubled five minutes later as Abraham brought down Jonathan Pereira and Salva Sevilla converted from the spot.

Efrain Juarez cut the deficit in half before the break as he fired home after good work from Angel Lafita, but Betis quickly added two more after the interval. The first came from the penalty spot as Paulo da Silva handled in the area and, with Salva Sevilla off at the break, Benat slotted home. And moments later, Santa Cruz made it 4-1 as he headed home unchallenged from Chica's cross.

Casto was then sent off with 20 minutes left for hauling down Luis Garcia outside the box, and Zaragoza came back with two goals in the space of a minute from Juan Carlos.

With 11 minutes still to play, that meant some nervous moments for Betis, but the home side held on and move two points clear at the top of the table, as the only side to still have an unblemished record so far this season.

Zaragoza are 14th with four points from as many games.