First division day 26

Real Madrid had no problems beating a poor Real Sociedad side to keep their five point lead at the top of the table. Figo set up the first three goals, two for Morientes in the first half and another for Raúl eight minutes from time before McManaman added a fourth with a minute to go. The San Sebastian side stay in the bottom three, but with teams around them also losing their situation stays the same.

Barcelona can have no cause to complain about referees this week. Asuategui Roca turned down two claims for penalties from Mallorca and gave a less clear one to the home side. Rivaldo scored from the spot to even up his earlier own goal as the sides drew 1-1. Both lose ground on the top three, but stay in fourth and fifth place respectively.

Fate threw together Alavés and Rayo Vallecano three days after their UEFA cup quarter final tie. Alavés ran out winners again, this time by 4-2 in a bad tempered match in which Quevedo and Téllez were sent off. Rayo's early lead through Michel was cancelled out by a goal either side of half time from Javi Moreno and Tomic, and Begoña and Contra for the home side and Bolic for the visitors got the other goals later on.

Málaga moved up to eighth with a 2-0 victory over Zaragoza. Dely Valdés headed the first goal in the first half and Sandro added a second just after the break. Bravo for the home side and Juanele for the visitors were sent off. The Andalucian side jump ahead of Valladolid, who suffered their first home defeat of the season at the hands of Celta, despite taking the lead with one of the fastest penalties on record. Alberto scored from the spot but then got himself sent off just before half time. Karpin and Gustavo López came on in the second half to set up the 1-2 victory, with goals from López himself and Catanha.

At the bottom, Racing Santander gained ground on their three immediate rivals with a 2-1 victory over Las Palmas. Defensive errors let in Colsa and Mazzoni early in the second half, and Alvaro headed a consolation goal for the Canary Islanders in the last minute. Oviedo are also still close to the bottom four after they could only pick up a point in a 2-2 draw with Espanyol. They took the lead twice through Oli and Tomic, but the Catalans came back both times with goals from Sergio and Tamudo. (11.03.01)

Deportivo kept up the pressure at the top with a 4-1 victory over relegation candidates Numancia. All five goals came in the second half, with Pandiani adding two more to the hat-trick he scored midweek and Diego Tristán also getting a pair. Jaume headed one back for the visitors, who had to leave out four players who were on loan from their opponents.

Valencia struggled more than expected to beat another of the bottom clubs Osasuna. The Pamplona based side kept out everything until late in the second half, when Aimar found Kily González with a weighted pass. Valencia stay in third place two points behind Deportivo.

In Saturday's other game, Athletic Bilbao and Villarreal shared the points with a 1-1 draw. Palermo headed the visitors into the lead in the first half, but Urzaiz levelled the scores from a corner with nine minutes to go. Bilbao's Lacruz was sent off near the end. (10.03.01)

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