A first-half exhibition of attacking play set Real Madrid up for a 3-0 win over Villarreal on Wednesday, but they still trail surprise leaders Levante, who earlier came from behind to beat Real Sociedad 3-2.
Real Madrid are in blistering form and have now scored 28 goals in their last seven games in all competitions, an average of four a match, but they are a point adrift of Levante.
Champions Barcelona are third at two points behind Levante.
Karim Benzema sent Real on their way with a clinical finish after just three minutes.
Kaka fired in the second minutes later against Villarreal, whose coach Juan Carlos Garrido is under pressure with the side having not won in seven games.
Angel Di Maria finished off a fine team move for the third after 30 minutes and with the game won, Real Madrid relaxed in the second half while Villarreal offered little threat.
A sensational injury-time winner against Sociedad kept Levante in pole position.
Ruben Suarez’s injury-time winner allowed Levante to retake top spot in La Liga off champions Barcelona.
The modest side from Valencia are sweeping all before them at the moment in a superb start to the season.
Sociedad went ahead after just three minutes when a poor clearance from the keeper fell to Daniel Estrada, who slotted the ball home.
It looked as though it was going to be Sociedad’s night as they then hit the post through Alberto De la Bella and had the better of the first half.
Levante came back strongly though after the break with goals from Nano Rivas and Valdo Lopes, but it appeared as though they would have to settle for a draw with Inigo Martinez equalising with three minutes to go.
However, four minutes into injury time, Suarez gave Levante a stunning victory with a free-kick from distance that went in off the post.
A Jordi Alba goal after 82 minutes gave Valencia a 1-0 win away at Real Zaragoza and was a welcome victory after a poor run of just one win in seven matches.
Malaga, though, failed to bounce back from their 4-0 thrashing by Real Madrid over the weekend as they lost 2-0 to Rayo Vallecano, while Getafe drew 2-2 at home to Osasuna.
On Tuesday, a Xavi Hernandez free-kick gave a lackluster Barcelona a 1-0 win over nine-man Granada 1-0, which extended their club record run to seven games without conceding a goal.
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said that fatigue had been behind his side’s unusually ineffective display.
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on