Real Sociedad ended the weekend three points clear at the top of Spain's Primera División as both they and Valencia CF recorded 1-0 wins.
Villarreal CF were beaten 1-0 at home by Real in an even game, decided by Nihat Kahveci's 37th-minute goal as he shot in a loose ball after a free-kick was not cleared. Nihat went close twice early in the second half, but Real goalkeeper Sander Westerveld was forced to make a crucial save from Martín Palermo late on.
'A very satisfying win'
"That was one of the best away games we have played," said Real's delighted French coach Raynald Denoueix. "We wanted to keep up the same pressure that we showed in the first half but Villarreal were working hard as well. It is a very satisfying win. We are on exactly the right lines."
Valencia stayed in touch in second place with a 1-0 win at improving RCD Espanyol. Fábio Aurélio's curling free-kick on 74 minutes settled a close game, leaving Espanyol third from bottom.
RC Celta de Vigo, in fourth, could not keep pace with the leading pair as they lost at Athletic Club Bilbao. Celta went ahead through Edu on 33 minutes, but Joseba Etxeberría equalised with nine minutes left and substitute Ismael Urzaiz gave Bilbao their first home win in eight months during added time, both goals following Javi González corners.
Betis in top five
Real Betis Balompié overtook Real Madrid CF to go fifth with a 3-0 win at home to Málaga CF, slipping down the table after their unbeaten start. Betis without a win for three games secured victory with goals from Arzu and a Fernando double, the second a penalty.
FC Barcelona needed a late Fernando Navarro goal to gain a 1-1 draw at Real Racing Club Santander. The home side took the lead in the opening seconds through Javi Guerrero but Navarro was on hand eight minutes from the end to salvage a point for Louis van Gaal's side, who remain unable to reproduce their UEFA Champions League form consistently in domestic football.
RC Recreativo de Huelva secured their first win in Spain's top flight with a 1-0 victory at Club Atlético Osasuna to condemn their hosts to bottom place, David Cubillo's penalty six minutes from time proving decisive. Deportivo Alavés also secured a useful 1-0 victory, Ruben Navarro's last-minute goal beating fellow strugglers Sevilla FC.
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|Last updated: 02/02/2012 04:21 CET|
Geijo 79, Rico Moreno 90
Stuani 62 (penalty)
|Real Sociedad||0-1||Real Madrid|
|Venue: San Sebastian|
Diego Castro 23