Real thump Gijon; Barca edge Betis in five goal thriller; Wins for Villarreal & Atletico Madrid

Real Madrid 7 – Sporting Gijon 1 (La Liga, September 24, 2008) (Longer highlights here.) Van der Vaart struck twice, in the 18th and 33rd minutes, before Gonzalo Higuain’s low shot eight minutes from time sent Real in at half time leading 3-0. (First half highlights here.) It got worse for Gijon in the second half with Van der Vaart completing his hat-trick within two minutes of the restart. The Dutchman then teed up compatriot Arjen Robben for Real’s fifth. Kike Mateo pulled a goal back for Gijon but Raul completed the rout with two goals in five minutes midway through the second half.

Barcelona 3 – Real Betis 2 (La Liga, September 24, 2008) (Longer highlights here.) Barcelona, buoyed by the 6-1 win at Gijon, quickly took the lead over Betis as Messi played in Samuel Eto’o who controlled the ball before rocketing home a high, unstoppable shot. And it wasn’t long until Barca doubled their lead, Messi and Eto’o again combined expertly, with Eto’o tapping in his second. Danny Alves almost added a third with a wonderful run down the inside right channel but his chipped finish was off target. (First half highlights here.) Betis gave themselves hope early in the second half when Monzon slammed home a free-kick. And the comeback was completed in the 66th minute as Jose Mari broke through the middle and produced a brilliant chipped finish into the far post. Just as Guardiola thought his side had thrown away the game, Alves’ deep cross was superbly turned home by Gudjohnsen, on the slide and at full stretch.

Villarreal 2 – Santander 0 (La Liga, September 24, 2008) After soaking up some early pressure the Yellow Submarine moved ahead when Capdevila got on the end of a cross, and Llorente doubled the lead with a second header from a delicious right wing cross.

Getafe 1 – Atletico Madrid 2 (La Liga, September 24, 2008) Florent Sinama Pongolle netted his third goal in two games for Atletico Madrid at Getafe, showing excellent control to bring down a cross and fire in the opener. Getafe pulled level thanks to Albin’s flick header from a corner, but Pongolle then continued his hot streak to net the winner after a fine free-flowing attacking from Atletico.

Osasuna 0 – Deportivo La Coruna 0 (La Liga, September 24, 2008)