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  Sunday, 29 September, 2002, 21:20 GMT 22:20 UK
Valencia hit the front
Pablo Aimar gets to grips with Rayo Vallecano
Pablo Aimar gets to grips with Rayo Vallecano
BBC Sport Online reviews the weekend's action from the major leagues in Europe.

Spain

Defending Spanish champions Valencia returned to the top of La Liga with an easy 3-0 win over Rayo Vallecano.

Striker Mista opened the scoring on 35 minutes and then earned a penalty that was cooly converted by Ruben Baraja.

Migel Angel Angulo put the game beyond the visitors' reach in the dying minutes with a curling free-kick.

Juventus' Alessandro del Piero
Del Piero rescued a point for Juve

Athletic Bilbao slumped to another home defeat thanks to goals by Julian Robles and Ingio Larrainzar for Real Mallorca.

Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid, Celta Vigo, Espanyol and Racing Santander were all held to draws at home.

And Osasuna succumbed to Real Sociedad with Russian midfielder Dimitri Kholkhov hitting the target decisively for the visitors.

In Saturday's games, second-half goals from Joaquin and Fernando Varela helped Real Betis to a spectacular 3-0 win against Barcelona.

Real Madrid were fortunate to escape with a draw against a determined Valladolid who had the best chances of the match.

And a last-gasp winner from substitute Joan Capdevila gave Deportivo la Coruna a barely-deserved 2-1 win against a dominant Alaves.

Saturday
Alaves 1-2 Deportivo La Coruna
Real Betis 3-0 Barcelona
Valladolid 1-1 Real Madrid

Sunday
Athletic Bilbao 0-2 Real Sociedad (1700)
Atletico Madrid 1-1 Recreativo Huelva (1700)
Celta Vigo 2-2 Malaga (1700)
Espanyol 0-0 Sevilla (1700)
Racing Santander 2-3 Villarreal (1700)
Osasuna 1-1 Real Sociedad (1800)
Valencia 3-0 Rayo Vallecano (1930)


Germany

Bayer Leverkusen began to put their calamitous start to the season behind them by beating leaders Bayern Munich 2-1, despite playing most of the game with only 10 men.

Brazil defender Lucio opened the scoring on nine minutes with a thunderous free kick from 30 metres for last season's runners-up.

Thomas Brdaric's was dismissed on 37 minutes for a second bookable offence.

Midway through the second period substitute Daniel Bierofka doubled their lead in the 63rd minuteheading in a cross by Turkish playmaker Yildiray Basturk.

Ballack blues

Midfielder Hasan Salihamidzic reduced the arrears from close range two minutes from time for Bayern, who retained their lead despite their first defeat of the season.

The defeat ensured an unhappy return for Michael Ballack, who joined Bayern after being the inspiration for Leverkusen's surprise run to the Champions League final last season.

But the Germany playmaker looked below par against his former team in a sluggish performance from Bayern.

Defending champions Borussia Dortmund moved into second place, three points behind the Munich club, by beating Borussia Moenchengladbach 1-0.

Brazilian striker Ewerthon collected a clever headed pass from Czech forward Jan Koller to race into the box and hit the winner five minutes from time.

Saturday
1860 Munich 1-0 Hertha BSC
SV Hamburg 3-2 VfB Stuttgart
Arminia Bielefeld 2-1 Schalke 04
Hansa Rostock 1-2 Hanover 96
Energie Cottbus 0-1 VfL Wolfsburg
Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Bayern Munich
Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Borussia Monchengladbach

Sunday
FC Nuremburg v Kaiserslautern (1630)
VfL Bochum v Werder Bremen (1630)


France

Playmaker Yann Lachuer spearheaded AJ Auxerre to an emphatic 4-1 victory at Nantes, scoring twice to take the Burgundy team to the top of the French First Division.

Lachuer scored in each half, both times on counter-attacks in the 32nd and 80th minutes of a one-sided game.

Zimbabwean Benjani opened the floodgates in the 25th minute to score his sixth goal in as many games this season.

Hired from Grasshoppers Zurich in the summer, Benjani made his Auxerre debut this season only because first choice French international Djibril Cisse was injured.

Cisse is expected to return in two weeks.

Real Betis' Joaquin
Joaquin's wonder-goal put Betis 2-0 ahead

The Zimbabwean's goal was emulated two minutes later by Arnaud Gonzalez, who again puzzled a hapless Nantes central defence from outside the box and then Lachuer made it 3-0.

Nantes hit back with a 36th minute strike from Viorel Moldovan but Lachuer wrapped things up with his second goal.

Auxerre hold a three points lead over Olympique Marseille, who beat AC Ajaccio 3-1 on Friday.

Marseille fell behind to a 14th minute goal from Christophe Destruhaut, who headed home from a Bruno Rodriguez corner.

Belgian defender Daniel van Buyten equalised in the 41st minute before Cyril Chapuis made it two, just seconds before the interval.

Ivory Coast's Ibrahima Bakayoko sealed victory with a 75th minute penalty.

Friday
Marseille 3-1 Ajaccio

Saturday
Nantes 1-4 Auxerre
Montpellier 1-1 Paris Saint Germain
Sochaux 1-0 Nice
Guingamp 2-3 Strasbourg
Troyes 1-1 Lyon
Bastia 2-1 Bordeaux
Lens 0-0 Lille
Monaco 2-1 Rennes
Sedan 4-0 Le Havre


Italy

A controversial goal from Alessandro Del Piero in the fifth minute of injury time gave Italian champions Juventus a 2-2 draw against Parma after they had been two goals behind until the 87th minute.

Hidetoshi Nakata put impressive Parma ahead with a close-range finish and the visitors doubled their lead in the 81st minute when Adrian Mutu crossed for Brazilian Adriano to convert.

Marcello Lippi's side began their comeback when Igor Tudor headed in three minutes from the end and Parma had midfielder Sabri Lamouchi sent off for his role in ugly scenes as Juve tried to retrieve the ball from the net in order to swiftly restart.

Lopez on target

The visitors were furious when Del Piero turned defender Matteo Ferrari and then rounded Parma 'keeper Sebastien Frey to slot into the ungaurded goal for the equaliser.

The Parma players claimed Del Piero had handled the ball as he brought down a high pass into the area and there were angry scenes of protest at the end of the game.

The draw put Juventus top of the Serie table, but they could be overtaken by Inter Milan on Sunday.

In Rome, AC Milan took an early lead against Lazio through a Paolo Maldini header but had to settle for a share of the points after Claudio Lopez equalised six minutes into the second half.

Saturday
Juventus 2-2 Parma

Lazio 1-1 AC Milan

Sunday
Bologna 1-0 Piacenza
Brescia 2-3 AS Roma
Como 1-1 Reggina
Modena 2-1 Torino
Perugia 1-3 Empoli
Udinese 1-0 Atalanta
Inter Milan v Chievo

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