Real Madrid CF got back on track on Saturday with a 3-0 win against Villareal CF.
Madrid's centenary celebrations were spoiled by Wednesday's Spanish Cup final defeat by RC Deportivo La Coruña at the Santiago Bernabéu but any thoughts Villarreal had of capitalising on Madrid's disappointment were swiftly annulled as Raúl González scored from a Santiago Solari cross at the far post in the 13th minute.
Fernando Hierro added a second from the penalty spot in the second half after Zinedine Zidane was felled by Quique Alvaro and soon it was three as Steve McManaman, who came on as a second-half substitute, latched on to a slide-rule pass from Zidane to beat Lopez Vallejo from close range and round off the scoring.
FC Barcelona's UEFA Champions League hopes took a blow as they lost 2-1 at Real Betis Balompié. Youngster Dani got both goals for Betis, who climb to third after this latest win. Barça, who beat Málaga CF 5-1 last Sunday, fell behind after two minutes. Dani ran into the penalty area and collected Joaquin's fine cross from the right to clatter in his third goal of the season.
Barça improved after the interval and Rivaldo's corner led to their equaliser in the 54th minute, when Ito attempted to clear but turned the ball into his own net. It was only a temporary respite, however, and Betis's winner came 13 minutes from the end when a Benjamín cross reached Dani after Michael Reiziger failed to clear. Dani took the ball in his stride and prodded the ball into the net.
Disappointment for Deportivo
Deportivo experienced something of a comedown after their Copa del Rey success as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Rayo Vallecano at the Municipal de Riazor stadium. Walter Pandiani gave the home side the lead after just eight minutes but the visitors rallied and found an equaliser through José María Quevedo after 35 minutes.
Las Palmas sink Alavés
In the evening's late game, UD Las Palmas came from behind to beat Deportivo Alavés 2-1 thanks to a 74th-minute header from Josico. Martin Astudillo had given the visitors a 14th-minute lead before Jorge levelled for Las Palmas before the break.