Real Sociedad go into the Primera División Christmas break still holding their impressive unbeaten record after ending 2002 with a 3-1 win at bottom club RC Recreativo de Huelva.
Recreativo, who held a two-goal lead last week against Real Madrid CF only to lose 5-2, again were on the mark first when Raúl Molina scored on 40 minutes. But two minutes later, Nihat Kahveci sprinted past the home defence to equalise and the same player put Real ahead early in the second half.
Ten men extend lead
Darko Kovacevic was sent off for Real 20 minutes from the end for a second booking, but that did not prevent substitute Josebo Llorente from increasing their lead in added time.
Deportivo edge out Valencia
With ten wins and five draws from their 15 season-opening matches, Real hold a seven-point lead, thanks to RC Deportivo La Coruña's 1-0 win at second-placed Valencia CF. The home team dominated the match, but Roy Makaay's 21st-minute goal proved enough for Deportivo. Valencia's best chance went begging when Pablo Aimar's 48th-minute penalty was saved by the visitors' hero on the night, goalkeeper Juanmi García.
Real Betis Balompié are fifth, within nine points of Real, after ending Club Atlético Osasuna's five-game unbeaten run with a last-minute winner. Alfonso gave Betis the lead 17 minutes in, but Denilson's sending-off not long before the hour mark gave Osasuna hope. Iván Rosado seemed to have taken full advantage six minutes from the end when he levelled, but Marcos Assunção was on target in added time to give Betis the points and leave Osasuna in 12th.
Happy start for Clemente
Javier Clemente's reign as RCD Espanyol's third coach this season began with a 1-0 win against nine-man Real Valladolid. Ironically, the only goal of the game came from Savo Milosevic on eight minutes, well before the dismissals of Alberto Marcos for a professional foul midway through the first half and Juan Manuel Peña after receiving a second yellow card just after the hour. The victory moves second-bottom Espanyol to within two points of Rayo Vallecano and Villarreal.
The Primera División now takes a break until 5 January, other for the rearranged match between Madrid and Sevilla FC three days earlier. Victory for Madrid would move them up into second, five points adrift of Real.
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