Nacho puts Real Madrid top as Barca crash in Valencia

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A 78th minute header from Real Madrid central defender Nacho Fernandez was enough to take Zinedine Zidane's side to the top of the Liga Santander on Sunday night.

Real Madrid made hard work of their visit to face Valladolid and the home side had a goal ruled out for offside three minutes from time, but Madrid's defense, coupled with FC Barcelona's defeat in Valencia gives them a three point cushion over their nearest rivals.

Valencia striker Maxi Gomez missed a first penalty but scored two second half goals as his side inflicted a 2-0 defeat on a disappointing Barcelona.

Barca had over 70 percent of the ball, but once again failed to create many clear chances, while Valencia were aggressive and direct and had it not been for Ter Stegen, they would have taken an early lead.

Stegen saved a 10th minute penalty from Maxi after a foul by Gerard Pique and made several other important saves, while Valenica also hit the post before halftime.

They had better luck in the opening minutes of the second half when Maxi's shot was deflected into the next off Jordi Alba and the powerful striker sealed the win with a clinical finish with 13 minutes to go.

It is the first defeat Barca have suffered since Quique Setien replaced Ernesto Valverde a fortnight ago and team shows little sign of improvement under the new coach.

Things are not much better for Atletico Madrid whose dreadful week, which saw them lose to Eibar and knocked out of the Copa del Rey by third tier Cultural Leonesa, continued when they were held 0-0 at home to Leganes in a game which again highlighted Atletico's problems in front of goal.

Leganes ended up with 10 men after goalkeeper 'Pichu' Cuellar was sent off for an altercation with a ball boy in the 94th minute.

Sevilla moved into third place with a straightforward 2-0 victory at home to Granada which came thanks to first half goals from Luuk de Jong and Nolito.

Getafe also leapfrog Atletico and go into fourth after a controversial 1-0 win at home to Betis; Angel Rodriguez scored the winning goal in the 89th minute after a handball in the Betis area, although the visitors were angry after a handball by the goalscorer earlier in the game went unpunished by referee Prieto Iglesias.

Real Sociedad are also right in the race for the top-four after an easy 3-0 win at home to Mallorca thanks to goals from Alexander Isar, an own goal from Fran Gamez, who deflected a shot from Ander Barrenetxea , and Portu.

Asier Villalibre put Athletic Club Bilbao ahead in their visit to bottom of the table Espanyol and the Basque side had further chances in the first half. However, Espanyol held on and Raul de Tomas' second goal in two league games gave them a point.

The result means Espanyol are still without a home win, while Athletic have now gone 22 years without an away win against Espanyol.

Meanwhile, the game was marred by racist insults directed by a sector of the Espanyol fans at Athletic forward Inaki Williams.

Celta Vigo remain in the relegation zone along with Espanyol and Leganes after being held 0-0 at home to Eibar.

Alaves' 99th anniversary celebrations were ruined by a 2-1 defeat at home to Villarreal who scored an 89th winner from debutant Fernando Nino.

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