Real Madrid overcame the early dismissal of Iker Casillas to win 1-0 at Espanyol last night and cut Barcelona's lead at the top of La Liga to five points.
The Spain and Real captain and goalkeeper was sent off after tripping Jose Callejon in the second minute, when the winger was through on goal. Jose Mourinho withdrew Angel di Maria to bring on substitute goal-keeper Antonio Adan.
Mourinho's team took the lead after 24 minutes, though, through Marcelo. The Brazilian left-back overlapped into the box and shot powerfully past Idriss Kameni. From that point onwards Real defended in numbers but continued to threaten on the counter-attack; Emmanuel Adebayor, on loan from Manchester City, missed a number of good goal-scoring chances.
Quique Sanchez Flores, Atletico Madrid's under-pressure coach, was determined to remain in charge after his team, reduced to 10 men, were beaten 2-1 by Valenica at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday.
"I am going to stay in the mud and give everything to get us out of this," he said. "I have been ratified by the club and the president and now all we can do is keep on trying."
Atletico's Jose Antonio Reyes gave the hosts a good start as he fired in a low drive after just three minutes. However, Valencia's riposte arrived as Joaquin Sanchez slid home, and the winger scored again with four minutes left after Atletico's Diego Godin was dismissed for a challenge on him.
In Serie A, Internazionale were beaten 1-0 by Juventus in Turin. Alessandro Matri scored the only goal with a first-half header from Frederik Sorensen's cross. Samuel Eto'o missed an open goal for the visitors in the final minute. Lazio recorded a 2-0 win over Brescia yesterday, Alvaro Gonzalez and Libor Kozak scoring the goals.