Iván De la Peña scored twice to give RCD Espanyol a shock 2-1 success at Camp Nou and end former club FC Barcelona's 22-game unbeaten Liga run. Real Madrid CF are now seven points behind leaders Barça after overwhelming Real Betis Balompié 6-1, all the goals coming in the first half.
Espanyol off bottom
De la Peña came up the youth ranks at Barcelona and made more than 100 appearances over two spells with the club. It was for a foul on De la Peña that Barcelona lost Seydou Keita to a red card late in the first half and in the first ten minutes of the second period the 32-year-old headed Espanyol in front before producing a superb chip to double the lead. Yaya Touré pulled one back with 27 minutes left but Barcelona, up against Olympique Lyonnais on Tuesday, suffered their first league loss since the opening-day reverse at CD Numancia. That club are now bottom behind Espanyol, whose previous Liga away win was on 14 September.
Madrid cut loose
Madrid have closed the gap at the top after an extraordinary first half against a Betis team that held Barcelona 2-2 a week ago. Gonzalo Higuaín made it 1-0 early on and Klaas Jan Huntelaar added further goals on 15 and 24 minutes. Ricardo Oliveira pulled one back on the half-hour but Raúl González struck in the 36th and 42nd minutes to become Madrid's outright all-time leading Liga scorer,and Sergio Ramos claimed the sixth just prior to the interval. His side will hope to reproduce that form on Wednesday against Liverpool FC after their ninth straight Liga win, their best run since 1985/86.
Villarreal CF, facing Panathinaikos FC the same night, recovered from conceding a first-minute Mate Bilić goal to defeat Real Sporting de Gijón 2-1. Robert Pirès only took seconds to equalise and Joan Capdevila's 36th-minute strike ensured Villarreal stayed three points behind third-placed Sevilla FC, who kept up their run of late goals with a 87th-minute Jesús Navas strike for a 1-0 win against Club Atlético de Madrid, who take on FC Porto on Tuesday.
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