Real Madrid went top of La Liga with a 2-1 home win over Villareal and the following day Valencia failed to regain first place losing 1-0 at home to Osasuna.

Los Galacticos stormed into a 2-0 lead over Villareal with goals from Santiago Solari in the 14th minute and Ronaldo in the 53rd. However the Spanish giants were pushed all the way by the visitors as Sergio Ballesteros halved the deficit with just over five minutes remaining.

In the other Saturday fixture Albacete staged an impressive comeback to take a point from Atletico Madrid. Atletico went in at half-time a goal to the good after taking the lead through Nano on 31 minutes. Then on the hour mark a Matias Lequi own goal pulled the visitors level and they hung on to take the point.

Valencia’s disappointing defeat came about thanks to an own goal from Mauricio Pellegrino just before the break. Osasuna then defended resolutely throughout the second half to secure the three points and move up to fifth in the table.

Third placed Deportivo La Coruna failed to capitalise on the leader’s slip-up, going down 1-0 away at Athletic Bilbao. Midfielder Francisco Molina scored the Basque side’s solitary goal in the second half with a strike that never should have beaten the Depor keeper.

Barcelona’s hopes of Champions League football were given a major boost as they beat Sevilla 1-0 at the Nou Camp. Despite all the speculation surrounding him, Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert scored the only goal of the game, powering home a header on 30 minutes. The Catalan giants remain in seventh place but close the gap on the sides above them.

Bottom of the table Murcia were left feeling hard done by as their season turned from bad to worse with a 3-2 defeat away at Racing Santander.

Racing twice took the lead through front man Javi Guerrero but twice Murcia battled back to equalise, through Juan Esnaider and David Karanka, the second one coming on 90 minutes. But new boss John Toshack was left reeling as his side let the point slip away when Guerrero completed his hat-trick in time added on.

Real Betis compounded the misery of struggling Espanyol with a 2-1 away win over the Catalan side. Early strikes from Mingo and then Fernando from the penalty spot made Raul Tamundo’s second half goal irrelevant to hand Victor Fernandez’s side the three points.

Real Sociedad and Celta Vigo went goal crazy at the Baladios as the home side cruised to a 5-2 victory.

Sociedad have been in impressive form of late and were shocked to find themselves a goal down to a Gustavo Lopez goal in the first minute. Unfazed, the Basque team turned things around before half time through Darko Kovacevic and an own goal from Savo Milosevic.

The visitors started out the stronger in the second half though and Frenchman Peter Luccin pulled his side level five minutes after the restart. Celta were then stunned by three strikes in twelve minutes with Xavi Alonso hitting home before a Nihat Kahevci brace.

Valladolid won the fight for mid-table supremacy running out 3-2 victors away at Malaga. A Salva Ballesta double for the home side was matched by Oscar Gonzalez and Julio Cesar grabbed the winner to move Valladolid three points clear of their opponents.

Mallorca did their chances of La Liga survival a power of good by beating fellow strugglers Real Zaragoza 3-1. An Andrija Delibasic debut goal was added to by Dutchman Arnold Bruggnik and Brazilian Nene making Leo Ponzio’s strike for the visitors academic.