by JACK PRENTICE
Atletico Madrid were knocked off top spot with their first defeat of the season away at Sevilla, who ensured that former striker Kevin Gameiro endured an unhappy return to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
Steven N’Zonzi’s goal after 73 minutes was enough to deservedly catapult Los Nervionenses to second in the table as the hosts leapfrogged their opponents, who had Koke sent off for a second booking.
Prior to the only goal of the game, both teams had good chances as Angel Correa missed when it was easier to score for Atletico and Vitolo had a volley saved by Jan Oblak in the Atleti goal.
Diego Simeone’s men have dropped to fourth having been top going into the weekend’s round of fixtures.
Real Madrid’s 2-1 victory over Atheltic Bilbao was enough to see them replace their city neighbours at the summit of La Liga.
Karim Benzema needed only seven minutes to put the hosts ahead at the Bernabeu against a Bilbao team that haven’t won there since 2005.
The Basques suddenly had hope midway through the second half as Merino took advantage of a defensive mix up between Pepe and Dani Carvajal to poke the ball past Keylor Navas.
Cristiano Ronaldo missed a glut of chances and the game looked like petering out into a draw, before Alvaro Morata scored on his 24th birthday with seven minutes on the clock to steal a narrow victory.
Like their Clasico rivals, Barcelona needed late drama to ensure they came away with maximum points at a resurgent Valencia.
Lionel Messi’s injury-time penalty sealed a 3-2 victory, although that was marred by crowd violence as both Luis Suarez and Neymar appeared to be struck by bottles thrown during the celebrations.
Messi had earlier but Barca ahead in the first half but Valencia turned the game on its head as Munir El Haddadi – on loan from Barcelona – and Rodrigo scored twice in four second half minutes.
Just after the hour, Luis Suarez equalised for Luis Enrique’s side before Messi swung the game decisively from the spot after Luis Suarez was fouled, though Barcelona lost Andres Iniesta to a knee injury.
Elsewhere, Kevin Prince Boateng’s sublime goal for Las Palmas away at Villarreal wasn’t enough to stop the Gran Canarians losing 2-1, while Celta Vigo humiliated Deportivo La Coruna 4-1 in the Galician Derby.
Osasuna 1-2 Real Betis
Espanyol 3-3 Eibar
Real Sociedad 3-0 Alaves
Malaga 4-0 Leganes
Granada 0-0 Sporting Gijon