First division day 28
Real Madrid held on to their five point lead at the top with a laboured 1-0 victory over struggling Numancia. Luis Figo got the only goal of the match in the first half with a free kick into the top corner of the net. With Valencia losing, only Deportivo La Coruña have any realistic chance of catching the European champions, who play Galatasaray on Tuesday night in the quarter finals of this year's Champions League.
Deportivo set a new record with comfortable 4-2 win over sixth placed Villarreal, their 24th home league game in a row without defeat. Djalminha and Diego Tristán put the home side two up by half time, and although Víctor pulled one back for the visitors from the penalty spot, Tristán's second of the night and another from substitute Makaay ended their resistance. Gracia added a second for Villarreal at the end.
Valencia lost ground on the top two after losing 0-1 at home to Espanyol, and are now five points behind Deportivo. Tamudo headed the winner in the second half to keep up Espanyol's five match run without defeat at the Mestalla stadium, the ground where they won the cup last summer.
Celta made it four league victories in a row with a 1-4 win at Málaga. Catanha scored two goals in the second half against his old team but refused to celebrate out of respect for local fans. Earlier Jesuli and Mostovoi (from the penalty spot) put the visitors two ahead, with Catanha's replacement Dely Valdés replying for the home side just before half time. (31.03.01)
Barcelona moved up level with third placed Valencia after an easy 4-1 victory over Las Palmas. They were given a shock at the start though as Guayre scored a great individualist goal to put the visitors in front, but Gabri and Overmars put the Catalans ahead by half time. Rivaldo and then substitute Dani extended the lead in the second half.
Mallorca's good work in their last three games was rather spoilt with a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Real Sociedad. Eto'o gave the home side the lead in the first half, but Loren made it all square after the break to take John Toshack's team to within a point of safety. They were however caught by Racing Santander who beat Zaragoza 2-1 thanks to a last minute goal by substitute Regueiro. Mazzoni had given them a first half lead, but Esnaider levelled scores shortly afterwards.
Zaragoza head up a group of three teams on 32 points, five points ahead of the bottom four. The other two are Valladolid and Oviedo, neither of whom managed to win at home. Valladolid's manager Pancho Ferraro must surely be close to getting his marching orders after his team's fourth defeat in a row, this time 1-3 by Rayo Vallecano. Iván Iglesias, Ballesteros and Bolic got the goals for the visitors, with Caminero equalising temporarily for the home side before half time.
Oviedo scored three times against Alavés, but they hit back to end the match at 3-3. Onopko scored their first and Oli got two more for the Asturian side, but two from Iván Alonso, substituting the injured Javi Moreno, and a third from a Contra penalty near the end, gave the Basques a point. The other two Basque sides, Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna, met at the San Mames stadium in the last game of the day. An injury time goal by Osasuna's Iván Rosado gave the visitors a 0-1 victory, taking them out of the relegation zone above Numancia. One point now separates the bottom four clubs. (01.04.01)