Carew sends Valencia top

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VALENCIA moved to the top of La Liga with a 2-1 triumph at Alaves as Real Madrid crashed to a defeat by the same scoreline at Real Valladolid.

In the top of the table clash at The Mendizorroza, there was a lightning advent to the encounter by both Alaves and Valencia.

Martin Astudillo's second in as many games after just two minutes fired Alaves ahead but the visitors were level within 60 seconds through Gonzalo de los Santos.

On 27 minutes, Valencia had overturned their early deficit as John Carew opened his account for the campaign.

Meanwhile at the Nuevo Jose Zorrilla the title favourites were suffering their first defeat at the venue in a decade.

After an entertaining, but scoreless, first half, Fernando put Valladolid ahead on 59 minutes.

Fernando Morientes levelled matters 13 minutes later and Real were heading for a hard-fought point, until a piece of divine intervention from Valladolid's Jesus with two minutes remaining.

Barcelona moved to within a point of their arch-rivals following a 2-0 home success over Real Sociedad.

Brazilian superstar Rivaldo opened the scoring on 58 minutes and Argentinian wonderkid Javier Saviola wrapped up the points 13 minutes from time.

Athletic Bilbao made the perfect start in their quest to close the gap at the top of La Liga when Bittor Alkiza put his team ahead with his first goal of the season on four minutes.

Malaga, though, equalised just before the half-hour mark courtesy of Manuel Canabal.

Five minutes later and Bilbao were back in front as Santiago Ezquerro added his name to the scoresheet but Julio Dely Valdes's equaliser with a quarter of an hour remaining appeared to be sending the match towards a draw.

Malaga, though, had not counted upon Rafael Alkorta popping up in the dying seconds to earn Bilbao a victory.

Real Betis kept tabs with the title-chasers by grounding out a 0-0 draw at Las Palmas. 

Rayo Vallecano earned an early boost to their survival hopes when Michel struck on 32 minutes against Espanyol.

Nine minutes into the second half and Vallecano doubled their lead through Jorge Azkoitia's first of the season but within a minute Espanyol were back in the game through Antonio Pacheco's strike, and then in the dying embers of the encounter Oscar broke home hearts with a crucial equaliser.

In the match between two clubs at the wrong end of the table, Villarreal snaffled a 28th minute lead against Mallorca through Jorge Lopez before Roberto Losada squared the tussle on 68 minutes.

Three minutes later and Victor notched a priceless winner that sent Villarreal soaring five places up the table. 

Bottom club Tenerife forged in front at Real Zaragoza via Ivan Ania's 39th minute effort, but a 78th minute effort from Luciano Galletti shared the spoils.

Sevilla and Osasuna failed to break the tedium as they were involved in a scoreless affair.

Click below for match summaries:
Alaves 1-2 Valencia
Athletic Bilbao 3-2 Malaga
Barcelona 2-0 Real Sociedad
Las Palmas 0-0 Real Betis
Rayo Vallecano 2-2 Espanyol
Real Valladolid 2-1 Real Madrid
Real Zaragoza 1-1 Tenerife
Sevilla 0-0 Osasuna
Villerreal 2-1 Mallorca