Real win the Madrid derby; Villarreal draw a blank in Espanyol to gain top spot in Spain

Atletico Madrid 1 – Real Madrid 2 (La Liga, October 18, 2008) (Longer highlights here.) Ruud van Nistelrooy shot Real Madrid into an early lead in the local derby against Atletico. Minutes later Sneijder nearly doubled the lead but his shot hit the bar. The home sides task was then made even harder when Luis Perea was sent off for smacking Sneijder in the face. But, five minutes before the break, goalscorer Ruud van Nistelrooy was also shown the red card for a bad tackle to even things up at 10 men for both teams. In the 90th minute, Atletico equalised when Simao scored with a well struck free-kick. But Atletico’s joy was short-lived as deep in injury-time Drenthe was fouled in the box by Heitinga and Higuain scored the penalty to give Real a barely deserved win.

Espanyol 0 – Villarreal 0 (La Liga, October 18, 2008) After a goalless first-half the game burst into life on 70 minutes when Espanyol were awarded a controversial penalty. Tamudo stepped up to take the spot-kick only to see his effort superbly saved by Diego Lopez.