Primera Liga round-up
Guardiola's men pick up first away league win; Levante keep pace
Last Updated: 02/10/11 10:56pm
Barcelona returned to the top of the table, Levante kept pace and Real Madrid continued to give chase.
Pep Guardiola's Barcelona scraped past bottom club Sporting Gijon to pick up their first away league win of the season.
The defending champions had drawn 2-2 at both Real Sociedad and Valencia in their previous two away matches in La Liga but they returned from Asturias with all three points tonight thanks to Adriano's solitary early strike.
Barca are now level on 14 points with surprise package Levante at the summit, while Sporting continue to struggle at the foot of the standings after suffering their fifth defeat in six games.
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Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid continued to chase their old rivals after Gonzalo Higuain's hat-trick helped earn a 4-0 win at Espanyol in the late kick-off.
Higuain opened the scoring in the 17th minute with a rifled finish at Cornella-El Prat stadium after being played though by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Higuain added a second in the 66th minute, when the Argentine superbly swept home Alvaro Arbeloa's precise pass.
Substitute Jose Callejon got his name on the scoresheet with eight minutes remaining, before Higuain completed his treble in the 89th minute.
Juanlu's first-half strike was enough for Levante to down Real Betis 1-0 and ensure his side at least a share of top spot in the Primera Division heading into the international break.
The visitors who took control as Juanlu opened the scoring with a volley that went through the legs of Betis goalkeeper Casto on 33 minutes.
Fernando Llorente's brace earned Athletic Bilbao their first win of the season as they won Sunday's lunchtime Basque derby at the Estadio Anoeta 2-1.
The Spain striker scored in each half to sink Real Sociedad and earn Marcelo Bielsa the first victory of his reign at the sixth time of asking.
Sociedad had levelled through defender Inigo Martinez's astonishing strike from his own half but were outplayed for the majority of the encounter and had no answer after Llorente's second.
Atletico Madrid were left to rue a number of missed chances as Sevilla held on to extend their unbeaten start to the season with a 0-0 draw at the Vicente Calderon.
Radamel Falcao was the main culprit for the home side as he inexplicably blazed over from five yards out with the goal at his mercy on 62 minutes.