MADRID, Jan 2, 2011 (AFP) - Deportivo La Coruna recorded only their second away win of the season with Adrian Alvarez scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao at San Mames on Sunday.
Bilbao could have moved level on points with fourth-placed Valencia with victory, but fell behind to a 22nd minute penalty from Adrian and were reduced to ten men 12 minutes later when centre-back Mikel San Jose received a straight red card for fouling Adrian as the last man.
Depor didn't have the extra man for long as winger Juan Rodriguez was sent off for a second booking close to half-time to even up the numbers.
The visitors struck early in the second half with Adrian netting his second on 52 minutes. Fernando Llorente scored his 11th goal of the season late on to give Bilbao hope but Depor held on to move up to 11th in the Spanish first division.
Bilbao stay eighth and now prepare for Wednesday's King's Cup last 16 second leg match against Barcelona at Camp Nou having drawn 0-0 in the first leg.
Champions Barcelona host promoted Levante at Camp Nou later on Sunday targeting an 11th successive league win to extend their two-point lead over Real Madrid at the summit.
Barcelona have defensive problems ahead of the game with captain Carles Puyol injured and centre-back partner Gerard Pique out through suspension.
Levante lost their last match 8-0 to Real Madrid in the King's Cup but Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola does not want any complacency in the first game of 2011.
"We'd be wrong to imagine it will be easy because they lost 8-0 to Madrid in the cup," said Guardiola. "That was a different competition, and I guess they’ve forgotten that and we have to be careful with any team that comes to the Camp Nou."
Jose Mourinho's Real side are in action on Monday when they travel to derby rivals Getafe, who have won their last four league matches.
Espanyol were thumped 5-1 by Barcelona in the Catalan derby prior to the Christmas break and hope to put that poor showing behind them with a win over Champions League rivals Valencia later on Sunday.
Espanyol are level on 28 points with fourth-placed Valencia, however, their away form is erratic with two wins on the road all season.
"We have to continue growing as a team and the Mestalla is the perfect place to show that we can stay up near the top of the table," said Espanyol coach Mauricio Pochettino.
"This game is a real challenge for us but we are determined to start 2011 off on the right foot."
Sevilla languish eight points off the top four and hope to end a run of five consecutive losses with a home victory over Osasuna later on Sunday.
In other matches, Sporting Gijon host Malaga later on Sunday in a relegation six-pointer at El Molinon.
Sporting are second from bottom having failed to win in the league since mid-October while Malaga are one point above with one win from their last 12 outings.