Upsets and big wins in La Liga

The seventh round of La Liga proved an entertaining one with Sunday’s four matches providing shock defeats, big victories and lots of entertaining moments.

Real Madrid missed out on the opportunity to climb to the top of the table when they relinquished a lead to draw against local rivals Atletico Madrid.

Real took the lead after just nine minutes when right-back Dani Carvajal surged into space along the wing and sent an inch-perfect cross into the box for Karin Benzema to thump into the net with a header.

Atletico worked tirelessly to draw level with the Los Blancos, but were made to wait until the 83 minute of the game.

Second half substitute Jackson Martinez put a ball into the box and Antoine Griezmann managed to flick the ball further into the danger area, where Luciano Vietto tapped in to earn a 1-1 draw.

Earlier on Sunday, the action kicked off at the Campo de Futbol de Vallecas in Madrid, with home side Rayo Vallecano desperate to break their two match losing streak against visitors Real Betis.

Vallecano dominated the early exchanges with former Manchester United winger Bebé heavily involved and threatening frequently.

However, when the deadlock was finally broken it not only came against the run of play but also from an unlikely source as Betis centre-back Heiko Westermann directed a shot into the bottom right corner in the 20th minute.

Bebé, Zé Castro and Nacho would all come close to leveling the scores in the rest of the first half and the opening minutes of the second, but Betis managed to repel the attacks and went on to double their lead.

Rubén Castro was responsible for scoring the second; angling his shot into the net after he was found by Álvaro Cejudo and ensuring a 2-0 win for his side.

Events did not go according to predictions in the day’s second game as 13th placed Athletic Bilbao won 3-1 against ninth-placed Valencia at San Mames.

The fixture was open and fast-paced from the first whistle and the 41 000 fans in attendance did not have to wait too long for the first goal.

Zakaria Bakkali won a free kick when he was fouled at the edge of the box, and Daniel Parejo made the hosts pay for the mistake when he lashed a right-footed shot into the top left corner.

When Bilbao equalised just 14 minutes later, the goal came from a set piece once again. Bilbao centre-back Aymeric Laporte won a corner with a long-range shot, and then followed up by rising highest to head home from close range.

Markel Susaeta doubled the lead just 15 minutes into the second half when he found space on the left and placed a shot beyond the reach of goalkeeper Domenech Jaume.

Not content to simply sit back and close out the game, Bilbao went in search of another goal and were rewarded in the 69 minute when Raúl García played through Aritz Aduriz and the forward made no mistake with his finish.

Meanwhile, high-flying Villarreal came crashing down to earth when they suffered an upset defeat to relegation-threatened Levante at the Ciutat de Valencia.

While Levante went into the match in 18th place on the table after three draws and three losses, the visitors topped the standings after five wins and a draw.

The hosts will have been written off by most, but they were granted a lifeline in the 36th minute when Bojan Jokic received his second yellow card and was sent off.

Despite the numerical advantage, Levante still struggled to create and chances. They eventually managed to steal victory when Deyverson lashed a left-footed shot into the net to secure a 1-0 win.

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