La Liga Round-Up
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Sevilla took control of La Liga with a victory over Valencia, whilst Real Madrid won.
Sevilla took control of La Liga with a comprehensive victory over Valencia to deal a blow to the Che's title hopes.
After Real Madrid's 3-1 win over Racing Santander earlier on Saturday, Sevilla knew that all three points at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan would take them above both Los Merengues and reigning champions Barcelona.
Julien Escude, Luis Fabiano and Fredi Kanoute scored the goals, but the early damage was done by Valencia's own David Silva as he received his marching orders after just 18 minutes.
The late-night clash started in furious fashion, with a rash of nasty challenges, and Silva was the main perpetrator as he received two yellow cards - the second of which for use of the elbow.
Facing playing over 70 minutes with ten men, Valencia could see their chances of moving into third slipping away from them, and French defender Escude dealt the first blow on 19 minutes as he rifled home a free-kick amidst some suspect goalkeeping from Santiago Canizares.
The Spanish international made amends soon after with an incredible stop to deny Kanoute from close range, but after half time Fabiano made it two when he collected the ball after a great run from Daniel Alves and stabbed home.
Former Tottenham striker Kanoute completed the fine win, and cemented Sevilla's proud place at the top of the league, when he expertly controlled a long ball and saw his shot roll past Canizares after a defelction from David Cerra.
Just when Valencia thought their night could not get any worse, former Arsenal midfielder Edu - who had his first season at the Mestalla virtually written off by a cruciate ligament injury - had to be stretchered off with a nasty injury.
Real Madrid moved joint second in La Liga alongside bitter rivals Barcelona following a fine 3-1 win over Racing Santander.
The historic Spanish club has been grieving since Friday following the sad death of legendary Real striker Ferenc Puskas, but Fabio Capello's side paid tribute to the former Hungary international in the perfect fashion with a stylish victory over the visitors from Cantabria.
Los Merengues donned black armbands and a minute's silence was observed in the Bernabeu for 'The Galloping Major' who scored 324 goals in 372 games for the Spanish titans, and then it was time for the current crop of Real stars to show their mettle in front of an expectant crowd.
Inside five minutes defender Sergio Ramos delivered, with the former Sevilla man rising unmarked from a corner to head down into the side of Tono's goal for a one-goal lead.
Captain Raul should have doubled Real's lead just eight minutes later, but his delightful take-down and chipped finish was harshly disallowed for offside.
Whilst the visitors threatened sporadically, with giant striker Nikola Zigic proving to be a threat in the air, it was Real's night and after the half time break on-loan Arsenal man Jose Antonio Reyes scored his third goal in the club's colours when he produced a fine finish to beat Tono at his near post.
Mali international Mahamadou Diarra added the third when he rounded off a fine flowing move by firing home at the second attempt from a Raul cross, but in the final 20 minutes Real let their efforts slip somewhat.
First Ezequiel Garay fired home a fantastic free-kick for the visitors on 71 minutes, and in the final stages Guti was dismissed for an ugly challenge on Victor Vitolo.