First division, day 15
A bomb scare at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium ended the match between Real Madrid and Real Sociedad three minutes from the end. The Basque terrorist group ETA apparently made a phone call to a local paper warning them that an explosive device had been placed at the ground, and in the light of the recent bombing campaign throughout Spain, the match was called off and the ground was evacuated. It later turned out however that it was a false alarm. At the point the match was abandoned the scoreline was 1-1, Ronaldo putting the home side ahead before the break and Nihat equalising in the second half. A decision will now be made in the next few days as to how the situation will be resolved, although according to league rules the remaining minutes will have to be played out at a later date.
Espanyol moved up to second place in the table after a 2-1 win over Mallorca in the last game on Sunday evening. The Catalans took the lead in the first half through Pochettino, who headed the ball back into the goal after David Cortés had cleared an effort from Dani off the line. Jorge López had a chance to level the scores from the penalty spot minutes later, but Kameni saved his kick and reacted quickly enough to deflect his follow up shot onto the post. And soon afterwards Oscar Serrano made it two on the rebound after De la Peña ran through from the half way line and chipped a shot onto the crossbar. Pereyra pulled one back after the break with a header from Campano's free kick.
Valencia beat Numancia 1-0 to make it five victories in a row for Ranieri's side, taking them up to third place in the table pending the outcome on Real Madrid's match. It could have been a bigger margin though if the local forwards had taken their chances, and if the referee had not disallowed two goals by Corradi and Xisco after the break. The only goal came from Marchena in the twentieth minute, the Spanish international heading the ball back into the net after Juanma could only push out Fiore's free kick from the left wing. Only Lee Chun Soo went close for the visitors, who stay bottom of the table having not picked up a single point away from home.
A last minute goal from Baptista saved a point for Sevilla in a 2-2 draw at Deportivo La Coruña. Carlitos had given the visitors an early lead after a mistake by Pablo Amo, but half time substitute Sergio cracked home the equaliser just five minutes after the restart. Both sides had chances to score before Scaloni put the hosts ahead just three minutes from the end, but Baptista headed Renato's cross from the right into the bottom corner of the net to save a point for his side and keep them in fifth place in the table.
Sevilla's city rivals Betis are just a place behind them only a week before the two sides meet after they beat Racing Santander 2-1. The Andalusians dominated the match from start to finish, and they opened the scoring on the half hour mark when Fernando set up Edu for him to steer a soft header past Aouate. Oliveira volleyed home the second goal after the break from Edu's cross, and Arizmendi scored a late consolation for the visitors in injury time.
Osasuna and Zaragoza missed out on an opportunity to close back up on the leaders, the two sides cancelling each other out in a 2-2 draw. Morales put the locals in front in only the fourth minute, his fifth goal in as many games. But Oscar González took advantage of a defensive mistake by Cruchaga to level the scores just ten minutes later, and then give his side the lead midway through the second half. Puñal saved a point though from the penalty spot a quarter of an hour from the end after Soriano handled in the area.
Villareal moved away from the danger zone after beating Getafe 1-2, leaving their opponents just a place above the bottom three. Guayre put the visitors in front in the eighth minute after Riquelme set him up, and Diego Forlán added a second on the hour mark, again following a pass from Riquelme. Nano headed a late consolation following a corner, but it was not enough to save them a point.
Málaga are out of the relegation zone though after a 1-0 win over Levante, their first victory in nine games. Amoroso got the only goal of the game in the opening minutes of the second half with a shot which took a deflection off a defender to wrong-foot keeper Mora. It was the Andalusian side's first goal in nine hours,and saves the head of manager Gregorio Manzano for the time being at least. (12.12.04)
Barcelona moved twelve points clear at the top of the table pending Sunday's games after beating Albacete 1-2. They needed the luck of champions to do so though, Xavi volleying home the winning goal five minutes from the end after the Manchegans had missed more than one opportunity to take the three points. Iniesta returned to his home town to put the visitors ahead in only the second minute of the game after Peña gave the ball away, but they were unable to build on their lead after that. Albacete went close a couple of times before Mark González headed the equaliser from Pacheco's free kick in the second half, and Puyol had to clear off the line from Mikel a few minutes later with Valdés beaten. But with the game heading towards a draw, Xavi struck the winner to keep up the momentum at the top of the table.
Athletic Bilbao moved away from the danger zone with a 1-0 win over Atlético Madrid later in the evening. It was an intense match, with both sides packing midfield and many fouls, which didn't allow too much constructive play. The first attempt at goal didn't come until the half hour mark when Leo Franco saved easily from Urzaiz, although he had more problems keeping out an effort from Gurpegui soon afterwards. Del Horno gave the Basque side the lead on the stroke of half time after he got on the end of Iraola's long cross, referee Turienzo Alvarez waving away Atlético's appeals for offside. And it was more of the same after the break, Salva heading the best chance over the bar and Turienzo upsetting the visitors once again when he booked the striker for diving after he fell under Gurpegui's challenge in injury time. (11.12.04)