First division day 32
Leaders Real Madrid were surprisingly held at home to a 1-1 draw by Osasuna. With one eye on Tuesday night's Champions League game they started slowly, but a well struck free kick by Alex Fernández put them behind. Figo was awarded a non-existent penalty but then put it wide before the break, but Raúl levelled the scores after the restart with an opportunist goal. Pending Deportivo's match on Sunday Madrid go twelve points clear at the top.
Valencia increased the pressure on Deportivo with a narrow 1-0 victory against rudderless Valladolid. A Juan Sánchez header in the second half gave them the three points and sank Valladolid closer to the drop zone. (28.04.01)
Deportivo didn't falter on Sunday, beating Espanyol 1-0 to move to within 9 points of Real Madrid. It was a close run thing though, with Fran getting the only goal of the match in the first half. Both teams ended the match with ten men after Cristóbal and then Donato got sent off for second bookable offences.
Depor stay four points clear of Valencia and Mallorca, who beat Zaragoza 2-1. Luque scored both goals in the first half for the Island team, with Jamelli getting a late consolation in injury time. Mono Burgos returned to the Mallorca goal for the first time this season after Leo Franco injured himself last week.
Barcelona's new caretaker manager Carlos Rexach tried to wind the clock back to the days of Johann Cruyff, using the old manager's 3-4-3 formation against Celta. However they were surprised by an early Mostovoi goal, and although Gabri got one back before half time they could only draw 1-1. They drop four points behind Valencia and Mallorca, and look like having difficulties qualifying for the Champions League next season.
Alavés have gone of the boil since qualifying for the UEFA cup final, and they were beaten for the second week in a row, this time by 2-0 in the Basque derby against Athletic Bilbao. Ezquerro and Yeste got the goals in the second half of a bad tempered match, with Alkiza and Téllez both getting sent off.
Villarreal took advantage of Alavés's defeat to rise back above them to within a point of sixth placed Celta. They beat bottom club Numancia 1-3 despite playing the last 40 minutes with ten men after Gracia picked up a second yellow card. In the absence of Palermo, Craioveanu and Moisés got a goal each, with Jorge López getting one in between and Nagore pulling one back for the home side.
The last UEFA spot is being fought out between five teams, with Espanyol and Málaga also in the running. The South coast side could only draw 2-2 with struggling Oviedo and stay two points adrift of Celta. The visitors took the lead through Juan González, but Darío Silva levelled scores two minutes later and Canabal put Málaga ahead with six minutes to go before Paunovic saved a vital point for his side. González was stretchered off with a serious knee injury.
Not much change down at the bottom, with none of the last six teams able to win. Real Sociedad lost 2-1 to Las Palmas to slip back down to within a point of the drop zone. Alvaro put the Canary Island side ahead with an extraordinary goal late in the first half, with De Pedro equalising after the break. However Turdó headed the winner, his first goal for the club, after Jankauskas had been sent off earlier on.
Real are a point ahead of Osasuna and two above Racing Santander, who were held at home 1-1 by Rayo Vallecano. Both goals came early on, with Arzeno cancelling out Bolo's opener. Rayo's Setvalls became the seventh player to be sent off this weekend in the first division. (29.04.01)