MADRID: England skipper David Beckham was sent-off as Real Madrid crashed to a 2-1 defeat to Valencia on Sunday leaving city neighbours Getafe to take top spot in the Spanish championship.
Getafe, in only their second season of top flight football, beat Real Zaragoza 5-2 while Real's four-game winning streak came to an end with their home defeat.
To compound their misery, Real ended the game with nine men as Danish midfielder Thomas Gravesen was also sent-off.
Real threw away a chance to take the lead after 10 minutes when Zinedine Zidane put his penalty against the post and they were punished 12 minutes later when Ruben Baraja fired home a curling free kick from more than 20 metres.
Raul Gonzalez equalised for Real after 35 minutes but Valencia again got their noses in front three minutes later, from a David Villa penalty after a Pablo Aimar shot had hit Real defender Sergio Ramos on the elbow.
Real, who slipped to third in the table, had Gravesen dismissed for a wild tackle on Vicente Rodriguez eight minutes from time and, shortly afterwards, Beckham got two quick-fire yellow cards for disssent.
Both men will miss Wednesday's match at Deportivo La Coruna.
Meanwhile, Getafe coach Bernd Schuster, whose team has 17 points from eight games, was delighted by his team's convincing win.
“Our football was well-structured and quick, a very high standard, we didn't give up possession and the midfield did really well,” he said.
Celta Vigo move up to second, one point behind Getafe, after David Silva stabbed the ball home with his left foot eight minutes from time to get the only goal in their 1-0 win over Espanyol.
“We found them very difficult to break down,” admitted Celta coach Fernando Vasquez, despite the fact that Espanyol had been reduced to 10 men for most of the second half after Mauricio Pochettino had got his second yellow card.
Malaga went one better than Chelsea in the Champions League on Wednesday by hammering Real Betis 5-0 to hand the Seville-based side their worst league defeat for 22 years.
Villarreal's three first half goals sufficed for a comfortable 3-0 win over bottom club Real Mallorca.
“I didn't expect to be 3-0 up at the break. Mallorca had their chances,” said Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini.
Juan Roman Riquelme and Jose Mari got early goals before Diego Forlan, the joint European Golden Boot winner last season, put an end to his six-game goal drought with Villarreal's third in injury time at the end of the first half. – AFP