RC Deportivo La Coruña made a bright start to the new year with a 2-0 win against RC Celta de Vigo.
The UEFA Champions League challengers climbed up to third place in the Primera División after a victory in a fiercely contested derby at the Riazor stadium. Diego Tristán opened the scoring for the home side at the end of the first half and their victory was confirmed as Sergio González made it 2-0 just after the break, forcing a Víctor corner past Celta goalkeeper Pablo Óscar Cavallero.
Two goals from Fernando Sales set Real Valladolid on their way to a 3-0 victory at home to Real Betis Balompié in tonight's early game. Sales opened the scoring five minutes into the second half and made it 2-0 with a neat finish to a flowing move on 65 minutes. As Betis chased the game with increasing desperation, young midfielder Oscar scored his first goal for Valladolid on the counter-attack.
The result took Valladolid back into the top half of the table and left Betis in fifth place with 26 points from 16 games. Real Sociedad lead the Spanish league standings going into 2003 with 35 points from 15 games. They will be looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season at home to Málaga CF on Sunday.
In tonight's later games, a 20th-minute goal from Julio Alvarez was enough to give Rayo Vallecano a 1-0 win at Club Atlético Osasuna, but goals were easier to come by in the game between Real Racing Club Santander and Athletic Club Bilbao, with the visitors securing a 4-3 win.
A goal from Pedro Munitis and a Javi Guerrero penalty had given the hosts a 2-0 lead inside the first 20 minutes, and although a Mora own goal gave Bilbao hope, they were 3-1 down by the interval as Mario Regueiro restored Santander's two-goal advantage.
Etxeberría strikes gold
However, the second half brought a dramatic fightback for Bilbao as Ismael Urzaiz and Joseba Etxeberría found the target to level the scores with just under half an hour remaining. Etxeberría finally broke Santander's resistance to score the winning goal three minutes from time.
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