First division day 29
A depleted Real Madrid scraped a 0-1 victory in Las Palmas to move eight points clear at the top of the table. Missing the suspended Hierro and the injured Makelele and Raúl they did just enough to win thanks to a second half goal by Guti. Second placed Deportivo lost 2-1 at Zaragoza, their second defeat in four days. Jamelli and Esnaider gave the home side the lead, with Naybet pulling one back near the end. Djalminha was sent off early in the second half for a retaliatory tackle on José Ignacio.
Valencia bounced back after three defeats in a row with a comfortable victory over Rayo Vallecano. Ayala gave them the lead before the break with his second goal in four days, and Kily González and substitute Vicente put them three up midway through the second half. Luis Cembranos pulled one back soon afterwards, but Juan Sánchez finished things off five minutes from time. Valencia stay in third place, now only two points behind Depor.
The fourth and sixth placed teams, Barcelona and Villarreal played out a thrilling 4-4 draw in the Madrigal stadium. Villarreal went three goals up in the first 20 minutes through Víctor (2) and Calleja, but two from Kluivert and another from Rivaldo (who missed a penalty earlier) made it three all. Jorge López put Villarreal back in the lead, but Kluivert completed his hat-trick in injury time to share the points.
Mallorca won 0-2 at Numancia to move to within a point of Barcelona in fifth place and send their opponents crashing to the bottom of the league. Ibagaza and Carreras got the goals in the second half, even though by then they were down to ten men after Fernando Niño was sent off. Celta now occupy the other UEFA spot after recording their fifth win in a row, this time by 2-1 against Athletic Bilbao. Catanha headed the first just before the interval and Vagner added a second before Yeste got a late consolation goal near the end.
Alavés are a point behind Celta in seventh place, ahead of Villarreal on goal average after beating a disheartened Valladolid 4-2. With Javi Moreno still injured, his replacement Iván Alonso made an early goal for Eggen and then scored himself, and although Eusebio pulled one back Vucko came on to get two more. Alberto got the last goal for Valladolid, who were watched by caretaker manager Pepe Moré, in charge for the first time after Pancho Ferraro resigned midweek. Málaga jump over Espanyol to ninth after beating them 1-2 in Barcelona. Rotchen gave the home side the lead just before half time but then gave a penalty away which Rufete converted. Darío Silva got the winner against his old side with a quarter of an hour to go.
Real Sociedad climbed out of the relegation zone for the first time in 24 weeks with a 3-0 victory over Oviedo. All three goals came in the second half, with Jankauskas getting two and Tayfun the other. Oviedo, who ended the game with ten men after Gaspar was sent off in the last minute, are now only three points ahead of their opponents. Real open up a two point gap over Osasuna and three over Racing Santander, who cancelled each other out with a 1-1 draw. Gancedo headed the home side into the lead, but Mazzoni equalised on the half hour mark. Racing at least go ahead of Numancia on goal average. (08.04.01)