Espanyol and Deportivo La Coruna earned much-needed second wins of the La Liga season on Sunday for both sides to provisionally rise from the relegation zone.
Espanyol won 1-0 at Real Sociedad for their first away victory after 10 rounds, while Deportivo ended an eight-game winless run by edging out visiting Mallorca 1-0.
Sociedad had dominated the game at Anoeta stadium until Diego Colotto tapped in a short pass from fellow center back Hector Moreno while sprawled on the ground following a corner in the 77th minute.
Espanyol are unbeaten in four league matches, while Sociedad coach Philippe Montanier had to hear part of the crowd calling for his resignation after his team remained winless in four games, including the Copa del Rey.
“My team never gave up at any moment,” said Espanyol coach Mauricio Pochettino, adding that his team was fortunate to take the three points “because there is always a luck factor you need to go your way in any game.”
‘Goal is the law’
At Riazor stadium, Bruno Gama scored what proved to be Deportivo’s winner on the half-hour mark when the forward first cut left, then right, to get clear and fire the ball in off the far post.
Luis ‘Pizzi’ Afonso almost doubled the hosts’ lead when his free kick hit the crossbar as rain and sleet fell heavily on the pitch, but Mallorca’s toothless attack condemned them to a fifth straight loss.
“We are all angry with the loss, but in football the goal is the law,” said Mallorca coach Joaquin Caparros.
“We had the ball and tried to vary it in attack, but it wasn’t enough”
Mallorca coach Joaquin Caparros
“We had the ball and tried to vary it in attack, but it wasn’t enough.”
Also, Patrick Ebert’s late goal gave Valladolid a 1-0 win at 10-man Osasuna, leaving the Pamplona-based club languishing in last place.
Osasuna went down a man when Ruben Gonzalez received his second booking in the 71st, and Ebert finished off a counterattack in the 83rd with an exquisite chip shot that the helpless goalkeeper could only watch float overhead and fall into his open net.
Later, Levante visit Sevilla seeking a fourth consecutive win that would propel them into fourth place, keeping the team in the thick of the race for a Champions League spot.
Also, Athletic Bilbao are at Granada.
Barcelona took sole possession of the league lead with a club-record ninth win in 10 rounds while Atletico Madrid lost their first match of the season, a 2-0 defeat at Valencia.
Real Madrid remained eight points behind Barcelona in third place after beating Real Zaragoza 4-0, while Malaga fell into fourth place after losing 2-1 to Rayo Vallecano.