Villarreal CF missed the chance to go top of the Spanish Liga though they did split Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona by climbing into second place courtesy of a 2-2 draw with Hercules CF.
The Yellow Submarine would have moved to the summit with victory in Alicante but twice had to come from behind to earn a point. Promoted Hercules, who have already beaten Barcelona and Sevilla FC this season, took the lead after 26 minutes when Nelson Valdez pounced on a well-worked free-kick but they were pegged back just three minutes later when Joan Capdevila turned in.
David Trezeguet restored Hercules' lead but was sent off a minute before half-time to give Villarreal new hope for the second period. They duly drew level once more, Borja Valero staying cool when in behind the home defence on 63 minutes, but any ambition they had of claiming maximum points disappeared when they too lost a player to a red card with Mateo Musacchio's dismissal with seven minutes left.
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