Three matches were played on Saturday night involving the top four clubs. Leaders Real Madrid kept their four point lead at the top with a narrow 1-0 victory over Racing Santander. The only goal was scored by Raúl just after half time when keeper Ceballos dropped the ball at his feet.
Deportivo de La Coruña beat Barcelona 2-3 with an injury time goal from Víctor to keep up the pressure on Madrid and leave their opponents eleven points adrift of the leaders. Barça came back after an early Djalminha goal with a Rivaldo penalty and a header from Luis Enrique to lead at half time, but Víctor levelled the scores after the break before hitting the last minute winner.
Héctor Cúper left Mendieta and Aimar on the bench for their game at Las Palmas, but Valencia still ran out 0-2 winners. Juan Sánchez opened the scoring in the first half and Aimar came on late in the game to score the second from a free kick against stand-in keeper Jarni, playing in goal after Nacho González was sent off. Valencia move ahead of Barcelona to third. (17.02.01)
Villarreal kept up their push for Europe, beating Valladolid 2-1 to move to within two points of Barcelona in fifth place. Palermo had a hand in both goals, the first a penalty from Víctor after the striker was fouled, and the second late in the game from Jaime after Bizzarri saved the Argentinian international's shot. Alberto got a consolation goal in injury time. Mallorca stayed level with Villarreal after beating Athletic Bilbao 1-0, with a first half goal from Carlos, who was given a rare start due to the suspension of Eto'o and the injury to Ibagaza.
The top six have opened up a five point gap over seventh placed Rayo Vallecano, who drew 1-1 at Celta. Both goals came in the first half from defenders, with Ballesteros opening the scoring for the visitors and Juanfran equalising for the home side a few minutes later.
Zaragoza were involved in another seven goal match at home, beating Oviedo 5-2. Esnaider scored two including a penalty, and José Ignacio, Vellisca and Acuña got the others. Danjou got Oviedo's first away goal of the season after 933 minutes without scoring, and Jaime added a second later on.
Down at the bottom, Osasuna stayed in last place after losing 0-1 to Alavés. Magno got the goal in the second half, and the home fans booed their team for the first time this season after they failed to get even one shot on target throughout the match. Although they stay level on points with Racing, they lost ground on Real Sociedad, who beat Espanyol 2-1 thanks to a late penalty by De Paula. Earlier, Espanyol's Toledo had equalised Idiakez's opening goal.
Numancia also kept two points clear of the relegation zone after beating Málaga 3-2. Referee Esquinas Torres awarded three penalties in the last half hour, two to Numancia converted by Caco Morán and then Rubén Navarro right at the end, and one to Málaga, which Movilla scored from. Iván Pérez had given the home side the lead just before half time, and Zárate levelled scores after the interval. (18.02.01)