Spain round-up: Figo inspires Madrid revival

Real Madrid CF earned their first league victory in four games with a 3-2 win at Rayo Vallecano.

A superb injury-time free-kick from Luis Figo earned Real Madrid CF their first league win in four games as they took a 3-2 victory over neighbours Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.

Ronaldo on target
Madrid took a 15th-minute lead when Brazilian international striker Ronaldo raced on to a Figo through-ball before firing a first-time shot high into the top corner. Rayo midfield player Jorge Azkoitia levelled matters 13 minutes later when he skipped past Claude Makelele and bent a swerving 20-metre shot past Iker Casillas in the Madrid goal.

Zidane injured
The visitors then lost Zinedine Zidane with what appeared to be a thigh injury but regained the lead against the run of play when Roberto Carlos scored with a trademark rocket following a free-kick on the edge of the area. Rayo continued to dominate, though, and equalised once more on 75 minutes when Julio Alavarez scored from the penalty spot.

Figo winner
The excitement was not over, however, and it was Madrid who had the final say when Figo sent his free-kick over the wall and into the corner from the edge of the area seconds before the final whistle.

Real keep top spot
Leaders Real Sociedad stayed top despite being held to a 1-1 draw at home to RC Deportivo La Coruña at the Anoeta stadium. Yugoslav striker Darko Kovacevic opened for Real on 28 minutes when he headed in at the far post after a cross from Valery Karpin.

Luque strikes
But Deportivo equalised just before half-time when Alberto Luque slotted in with the outside of his foot after Fran González and Roy Makaay had prised open the Real defence. The draw still allowed the Basque side to better their previous best start to a league campaign which dates back to the 1981/82 season when they went on to win the championship for the second year in a row.

Valencia held
Valencia CF missed the chance to close the gap on Real, after they could only muster a 1-1 draw against Real Betis Balompié. Marcos Assunção put visitors Betis ahead in the 69th minute, before Argentinian international forward Pablo Aimar equalised with eight minutes remaining.

Riquelme penalty
FC Barcelona are fourth following their single-goal victory over ten-man Villarreal CF. Unai Diaz-Caballero was sent off for a second yellow card ten minutes after the interval, and Juan Riquelme scored the only goal of a tense match from the penalty spot with 16 minutes remaining.

Dario Silva seals victory
Málaga CF maintained their fine form with a 1-0 home victory over Club Atlético Osasuna. Now in fifth place, level on points with Barcelona, Málaga took the lead thanks to Dario Silva's 68th-minute strike and held on to secure another valuable three points.