Real Madrid won by the odd goal in a seven goal thriller against Málaga to keep their seven point lead at the top. Guti scored first for Madrd, but Roteta and Dely Valdés gave Málaga a surprise lead on the half hour. Then Figo laid on two crosses in three minutes for Raúl to head the home side back into the lead. Darío Silva levelled scores in the second half, but Helguera restored the lead a minute later.

Deportivo hung on to second place with a 2-1 win over bottom club Racing. Makaay scored twice, the first a controversial goal after the defence stopped when the referee's assistant put up his flag incorrectly for offside. Colsa levelled the scores temporarily, then got himself sent off later on.

Barcelona produced their best display of the season to steamroller Athletic Bilbao by seven goals to nil on Saturday night, with no less than six in the first half, including a Luis Enrique hat-trick. Cocu also scored two, Abelardo another, and Overmars added a seventh in the second half. They stay third, four points ahead of Valencia who drew 2-2 at Mallorca. Eto'o gave the home side the lead, but Baraja came on in the second half to score, and Mendieta added a second to take them ahead. However an injury time goal from Luque salvaged a point for Mallorca. Valencia's new signing Pablo Aimar had to watch from the stands as his transfer papers were not through in time.

Palermo made his debut for Villarreal against Alavés, and set up the first goal for Víctor before being substituted in the second half. His replacement Craioveanu added a second at the end to give them a 2-0 victory to take them up to fifth.

Collymore also made his debut in the second half for Oviedo, but Las Palmas took the three points with an Oulare goal in the second half. Oviedo have still not scored away all season.

Espanyol sank Osasuna further with a 1-3 victory in Pamplona. Mateo got a goal for both sides, and Velamazán scored two spectacular goals in the first half.

Real Sociedad threw away a two goal lead in the last twenty minutes against ten man Celta. Khokhlov and Jankauskas from the penalty spot gave them the lead, but a Loren own goal and an injury time strike from Mostovoi saved a point for Celta. Real move up above Osasuna, two points behind Numancia who drew 0-0 against Valladolid.

Zaragoza and Rayo produced the third seven-goal match of the weekend. With Esnaider on top form Zaragoza got six of them, all from different players, and Luis Cembranos replied with a second half penalty. (04.02.01)

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