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Real Sociedad returned to the top of the Spanish first division with a 2-0 victory at home to Osasuna, enabling Raynald Denoueix’s side to displace Real Madrid who 24 hours earlier had beaten Valladolid 3-1.

It was Sociedad’s firstwin in four matches and will go some way to easing the club’s recent jitters as the season reaches a crucial stage.

Goals from Darko Kovacevic and Mikel Alonso secured the vicory to leave the Basque side on 47 points from 23 games, two points clear of Real Madrid and last season’s champions who crushed Mallorca 4-0.

‘We weren’t too good in the first half but we improved a lot after the break,’ said a relieved Denoueix afterwards.

‘I wasn’t concerned with regaining the league leadership because the only thing we were thinking about was the match itself. We’re delighted with the win and I hope we can continue racking up points until the end of the season.’

On Saturday , Real Madrid had climbed above their rivals in the title race following a comfortable 3-1 win over struggling Valladolid. Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo and Portillo were on target for Vivente del Bosque’s team after the visitors had tajen a shock lead through Fernando Sales.

Two of Spain’s Champions League entrants Deportivo La Coruna and Barcelona enjoyed emphatic wins on Saturday. Depor bounced back from their disappointing Champions League defeat at Basle to crush Alaves 6-0, with Diego Tristan bagging a hat-trick.

Meanwhile, a Javier Saviola hat-trick helped Barcelona to a 4-0 win over Real Betis, propelling the Catalan side to eighth spot in La Liga.

Elsewhere, bottom club Recreativo Huelva stunned Atletico Madrid 3-0 to revive their slim hopes of avoiding the drop, while Racing Santander continued their climb away from the foot of the table with an impressive 3-0 away to Villarreal.

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