Real Sociedad threw the title race in Spain wide open after a stunning 4-2 win against leaders Real Madrid.

Madrid, perhapps labouring after their midweek match against Manchester United, were 3-0 down within 32 minutes, as Darko Kovacevic scored twice fand Nihat Kahveci added a third.

A minute after Nihat’s goal, Ronaldo pulled one back for Madrid, but in a frenetic spell Xabi Alonso’s extended Real’s lead again within 60 seconds.

Substitute Javier Portillo scored six minutes from the end, but Real held on and are now within three points of Madrid, but still in third place behind Deportivo Coruna on goal difference. Tweny four hours earlier Depor gave warnning of their renewed interest in the title race with an impressive 4-2 away win against Barcelona.

Celta Vigo returned to the top fourÿ- albeit temporarily – after a 1-0 win against Real Betis courtesy of an Aleksandr Mostovoi goal on the stroke of half-time.

However, Valencia ÿleapfrogged back into fourth place after a 1-0ÿvictory against Osasuna.

Atletico Madrid trailed 3-1 to Espanyol with four minutes to go – only to keep theirÿUEFA Cup qualification hopes alive by claiming a 3-3 draw.

Recreativo de Huelva maintained their recent good run with a 1-0 win over fellow strugglers Alaves. Unbeaten in seven games they are now level on points with Alaves and fourth-bottom Osasuna.

Elsewhere, Rayo Vallecano remained in bottom place despite picking up a point in a 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao.