By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Barcelona set a new club record of nine wins in a row after seeing off Villarreal 2-0.Barcelona set a new club record of nine wins in a row after seeing off Villarreal 2-0 to stay top of La Liga.
Villarreal defender Juan Manuel Pena had an unfortunate role to play in the success, being involved in both goals, while Barca had Rafael Marquez sent off late on.
The reigning champions took the lead on 24 minutes when Ronaldinho's free kick was pushed out by Sebastian Viera and ricocheted off Pena into the net.
The second goal again owed much to Pena as Deco's long-range shot deflected off the Villarreal stopper on 63 minutes to leave Viera with no chance of making the save.
In the final minute Marquez was dismissed for a second yellow card for pulling back Jose Mari, after he had been cautioned in the first period for handball.
Osasuna keep pace with Barcelona at the summit after a 2-1 win at Malaga.
Pierre Webo's 23rd minute goal put Osasuna ahead, only for Malaga to strike back on 38 minutes through Nacho.
But four minutes before half time, Valdo scored for the visitors to provide Osasuna with their 10th win in 14 Liga matches this season.
Deportivo La Coruna leapfrogged Sevilla in the table after a 2-0 victory over the nine men at Sanchez Pizjuan.
Diego Tristan's penalty put Depor ahead on 24 minutes as Enzo Maresca was sent off in the same minute.
Victor scored Depor's second goal three minutes before half time and Sevilla had Daniel Alves dismissed for a second bookable offence on 68 minutes.
Valencia climbed to fifth in La Liga with a 3-1 win at Espanyol, while Mallorca continue to make progress up the table.
Miguel Angulo's goal on 15 minutes set Valencia on their way to victory, with David Villa netting a second before the break.
Pablo Aimar made it 3-0 on 61 minutes before Espanyol grabbed a consolation through Ferran Corominas three minutes later.
David Albelda was sent off 15 minutes from time for the Che, but it did little to dampen the visitors' spirits.
Mallorca have shown steady improvement of late and the upward curve was maintained with a 3-0 win at struggling Alaves.
Victor Casadesus broke the deadlock in first half injury time and added a second goal on 53 minutes.
Former Juventus ace Mark Iuliano put a further touch of gloss on the scoreline with a third goal for the Islanders on 64 minutes.
Real Zaragoza recorded just their second league win of the season after coming from behind to beat Cadiz 2-1 away from home.
The hosts forged in front on 17 minutes through Fernando Enrique, but two goals in two second half minutes from Ruben Cani (68) and Ewerthon (70) swung the game in Zaragoza's favour.
Real Sociedad threw away a two-goal lead on their travels to draw 2-2 at Racing Santander.
Alvaro Novo (20) and Oscar De Paula (50) had put Sociedad in command before Racing clawed their way back into the game through Antonito's goal on 67 minutes.
Sociedad substitute Gari Uranga was sent off on 80 minutes, just five minutes after being introduced, and that opened the door for the hosts to grab an equaliser when visiting defender Mikel Alonso put into his own net five minutes from the finish.
Click below for an individual match summary:
Alaves 0-3 Mallorca
Cadiz 1-2 Real Zaragoza
Espanyol 1-3 Valencia
Racing Santander 2-2 Real Sociedad
Malaga 1-2 Osasuna
Villarreal 0-2 Barcelona
Sevilla 0-2 Deportivo La Coruna