By Andy Hall
There were mixed fortunes for Spain's capital clubs as Club Atlético de Madrid joined the Primera División leaders on ten points after defeating Villarreal CF, while Real Madrid CF lost 2-1 at Athletic Club de Bilbao.
Level at the top
Atlético recovered from their midweek loss at Levante UD to seal a 1-0 win which saw them move level with Valencia CF and FC Barcelona, both of whom play tomorrow, on ten points. The winning goal was scored three minutes before half-time, Salva Ballesta beating Villarreal goalkeeper Pepe Reina with a bullet header following fine approach play down the left flank.
The Vicente Calderón crowd had to endure a nervous last five minutes after Luis Perea was shown a second yellow card, but César Ferrando's side stood firm. Madrid were unable to show such resilience, however, as they lost at San Mamés. Athletic took the lead after ten minutes when Asier Del Horno's cross from the left fell directly at the feet of Ismael Urzaiz, who struck a powerful drive past Iker Casillas from close range.
Madrid's attempts to draw level were thwarted by the offside flag as Ronaldo dribbled round Dani Aranzubia, and the Brazilian then went close with an effort from long range. Yet it was the home side who found the crucial second, Santiago Ezquerro heading in Del Horno's looping cross. Raúl González gave Madrid hope in the 51st minute but they were unable to make it two wins in four days.
Like Madrid, RC Deportivo La Coruña are not enjoying the best of times, although the Galicians showed plenty of spirit to earn a home point against Real Betis Balompié. The Seville-based side opened the scoring when Ricardo Oliviera beat the offside trap and shot low under José Molina in the 67th minute. Victor Sánchez leveled for Depor ten minutes later, their point leaving them in 13th position in the Primera División.
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