by JACK PRENTICE
Real Madrid failed to break the La Liga record set by Barcelona for consecutive wins as they fell at the 17th hurdle at home to Villarreal.
The current Champions League holders could only draw 1-1 against the Yellow Submarines, who led in a frantic first half injury-time courtesy of a Bruno penalty.
Real were level after half-time however, as Sergio Ramos – who had conceded the penalty in the first half, thumped home a towering header from a James Rodriguez corner.
Los Blancos huffed and puffed but couldn’t blow the Villarreal house down, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema all missing chances. Real remain top with 13 points, while Villareal have 9 and are fifth.
It was honours even at the Nou Camp as the titanic clash between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid finished 1-1.
As always, Barcelona dominated possession and made that ball retention count five minutes before half-time, although Ivan Rakitic’s header from a corner is not by any means the Barca way.
The second half was to be stinging for Barcelona as Atleti rallied following Diego Simeone’s teamtalk.
The hosts lost main man Lionel Messi to a groin strain that will sideline him for three weeks on 59 minutes, and two minutes later Atleti were level.
Javier Mascherano’s slip set livewire midfielder Angel Correa away, and the Argentine made no mistake.
Both sides had chances to win this and the point keeps Atleti well in the early running, while Barcelona haven’t won either of the last two home league matches.
Elsewhere, Sevilla’s 1-0 victory in the Seville derby ensured that Betis boss Gus Poyet’s tough start continued, while in-form Las Palmas were thumped 4-1 by Real Sociedad and Valencia won their first game of the season after Pako Ayesteran was sacked.
Malaga 2-1 Eibar
Celta Vigo 2-1 Sporting
Osasuna 1-2 Espanyol
Valencia 2-1 Alaves
Granada 1-2 Athletic Bilbao
Deportivo 1-2 Leganes
At the weekend, Barcelona go to Sporting Gijon nursing a perfect away record, while their hosts have stuttered recently after a solid early start after a 5-0 defeat away at Atletico Madrid and 2-1 reverse against Celta Vigo.
Las Palmas will have to recover from a 4-1 defeat to Sociedad by trying to undo Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid, who despite losing their run of consecutive wins with that 1-1 draw with Villarreal, are still 17 matches undefeated.
Atletico Madrid host Deportivo La Coruna at the Vicente Calderon looking to maintain a solid if unspectacular unbeaten start, while Depor have made a poor start and will be looking to make amends for a 2-1 home defeat to Leganes.
Real Betis v Malaga
Eibar v Real Sociedad
Athletic Bilbao v Sevilla
Leganes v Valencia
Villarreal v Osasuna
Alaves v Granada
Espanyol v Celta Vigo