The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sociedad up to 2nd

Madrid: Real Sociedad moved ahead of Real Madrid into second place behind leaders Deportivo La Coruna after a 3-1 win over an in-form Real Mallorca in the Spanish league Sunday.

Deportivo had knocked Real off the top Saturday with a 2-0 victory over Malaga, while the former leaders were held to a goalless draw at the lowly Recreativo Huelva.

With five games to go, Deportivo and Sociedad both have 66 points but the former is in first place thanks to its better record in matches between the two sides.

Real, who have frittered away a four-point cushion at the top in just two games, are a point behind the leading pair on 65.

Celta Vigo, who were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Racing Santander earlier on Sunday, occupy the final Champions League slot in fourth place a further 11 points behind Real and one ahead of Valencia who lost 1-2 at home to Villarreal.

The Galicians looked on course for victory at the Balaidos Stadium when midfielder Edu put them 2-1 up from the penalty spot five minutes from time.

But Racing refused to fold and substitute Diego Alonso headed an equaliser in the ninth minute of injury time that kept the Cantabrians clear of the relegation zone.

Barcelona missed their chance to move into a Uefa Cup place after they turned in a disappointing performance and were held 0-0 draw at Sevilla. The Catalans remained a point behind Athletic Bilbao in seventh spot.

Sociedad began positively as they went in search of an early goal at Son Moix against a Mallorca side that had taken impressive wins over title rivals Real Madrid and Deportivo in their last two games.

Midfielder Javi de Pedro should have done better when he sliced wide of the post in the third minute after Turkish forward Nihat Kahveci made a darting run down the right wing.

But the Spanish international soon made amends when he netted from the penalty spot on ten minutes after Darko Kovacevic had got into a tangle with Mallorca defender Poli.

Raynald Denoueix’s side took control and extended their lead just over a quarter of an hour later when Russian midfielder Valery Karpin slotted home at the far post after defender Agustin Aranzabal had cut back a fine pass from the sideline.

The powerful centre forward Kovacevic scored his 18th goal of the season to put Sociedad 3-0 up when he out-jumped the Mallorca defence to head in a quickly-taken free-kick from De Pedro nine minutes after the break.

Mallorca pulled one back six minutes later when the in-form Samuel Eto’o poked home at the far post after a Carlos cross was deflected off a defender but the Basque side’s lead was never in serious danger.

At the other end of the table, basement club Rayo Vallecano look destined for relegation after only managing a 1-1 draw at home to Real Betis.

The modest Madrid-based side is now six points adrift of fellow strugglers Alaves and Recreativo Huelva.

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