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Leaders Real Sociedad were unable to take advantage of Real Madrid’s shock defeat to Osasuna on Saturday, going down 3-2 to Real Betis in a thrilling encounter.

Sociedad were hoping to extend their lead at the top to five points following Real Madrid’s defeat at Osasuna and with time running out and the Basque side leading 2-1, they looked on course for victory.

Turkish striker Nihat Kahveci had earlier struck twice to put them 2-1 ahead, but a Iulian Filipescu header brought Betis level, though, and Fernando won the match for the home side when he converted a penalty kick in the dying moments.

Twenty four hours earlier, an out-of-sorts Real Madrid produced one of their most disappointing performances of the season. Christian Manfredini got the only goal of the game for Osasuna and Real’s prospects of a comeback were not helped Luis Figo when was sent off after the interval.

The result increases the pressure on coach Vicente del Bosque, ahead of their must-win Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.

“We wanted the victory but we couldn’t find a way,” Del Bosque said after the game.

“There’s never a good time to suffer a defeat but we’re still involved in the title race and we’re going to fight all the way.”

Defeats for the top two left Real Sociedad clear at the top with 44 points from 22 matches, followed by Real Madrid on 42. Champions Valencia, who beat Malaga 2-0 on Saturday, are also on 42 points, three ahead of Deportivo Coruna, who stay fourth courtesy of a 1-0 win at Valladolid.

Further down the table, Raddy Antic enjoyed his first win as Barcelona coach to ease the relegation concerns of the Catalan club. Goals from Philip Cocu and Xavi were enough to overcome Espanyol in the Barcelona derby.

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