The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Valencia nose ahead of Real
- Ronaldo & Co. trail on goal difference

Madrid: Valencia dislodged Real Madrid from the top of the Primera Liga on Sunday thanks to a 5-0 destruction of 10-man Real Mallorca in a game that featured a hattrick from Ricardo Oliveira.

The Brazilian striker helped get Rafa Benitezís side off to a flying start when he won a penalty in the opening minute, an incident which resulted in a goal from Jorge Lopez and the dismissal of Mallorca defender Fernando Nino.

Oliveira then opened his account five minutes later when he guided in after latching on to a superb defence-splitting pass from Pablo Aimar and made it 3-0 with another sharp finish just before halftime.

The former Santos striker completed his hattrick with a powerful far-post header midway through the first half and substitute forward Xisco got in on the act when he slotted home his sideís fifth two minutes from time.

Real and Valencia now both have 23 points from ten games, but Rafa Benitezís side lead thanks to their better goal difference.

Former leaders Deportivo Coruna are a point adrift in third after a lame performance in their 0-0 draw at lowly Murcia on Saturday. Osasuna stay in fourth, a further five points off the pace, but Barcelona and Atletico are now hot on their heels just a point behind.

Ten-man Barcelona fought back to earn a 3-3 draw against Real Sociedad at Anoeta, while teenage striker Fernando Torres was the star of the show for Atletico as he notched both goals to help his side come from behind to claim a 2-1 win away to Real Betis.

Torres cancelled out a trademark free-kick from Brazilian midfielder Marcos Assuncao just before the break with an acrobatic flying volley and then grabbed the winner, and his sixth goal in four games, from the penalty spot soon after the restart.

Barcelona took the lead against last seasonís runners-up Sociedad when midfielder Thiago Motta headed back across the goal and into the net after a Ronaldinho free-kick on 34 minutes.

The Catalans appeared to be comfortably in charge, but the game was turned on its head in a two-minute spell at the start of the second half.

Sociedad defender Igor Jauregi headed in at the far post on 57 minutes and fellow centre-back Gabriel Schurrer won a penalty in the next attack after some shirt-pulling by Motta.

Javi de Pedro smashed home from the spot to put the Basque team into the lead, but Barca substitute Marc Overmars made it 2-2 when he cut inside two defenders and drilled in with a fine angled shot.

Sociedad went in front once more three minutes later when Russian midfielder Valery Karpin launched himself at an Agustin Aranzabal cross to head in at the far post.

Motta was dismissed for arguing with the referee soon after, but there was still time for Barca to earn a deserved away point when Gabri guided in past Sander Westerveld after the outstanding Ronaldinho had sliced his way through the Sociedad defence.

At the other end of the table, Javier Clementeís job was left on the line after Espanyol slumped to their seventh defeat of the season when they went down 0-2 at home to Real Zaragoza.

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