First division, day 28
Real Madrid rounded off a disastrous week with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of their tiny city neighbours Getafe, and they are now eleven points behind leaders Barcelona with only ten games left. Except for the suspended Beckham, Luxemburgo kept faith with the side who were knocked out of the Champions League midweek, but despite a good start they were given a run around. Raúl Albiol put the locals ahead shortly before the break after Helguera failed to clear a cross, and ex Madrid forward Riki added a second just two minutes after the restart. Substitute Solari got a late consolation for Madrid with an excellent volley, but the game ended soon afterwards.
Villarreal closed up to within seven points of Real Madrid after thrashing last week's third placed team Espanyol 4-1, and they must now have their eyes on that second spot which gives direct access to the Champions League. Diego Forlán started things off around the quarter hour mark with his seventeenth goal of the season, and although Lopo headed an equaliser later in the half, Sorín restored the lead within minutes of the restart. Riquelme added a third from the penalty spot after Kameni brought down Forlán, and Figueroa completed the rout with a fourth goal late on.
Espanyol hold on to fifth spot though, still two points ahead of Valencia who were beaten 1-0 by Atlético Madrid in the last match on Sunday evening. Fernando Torres got the only goal of the game, beating his Spanish international team mate Cañizares with a header from a corner in the thirteenth minute. The result takes Atlético to within a point of their rivals.
Sevilla's bad recent form continued when they were beaten 0-1 at home by fellow UEFA cup participants Zaragoza, and they have now only picked up two points from their last five league games. Milito proved the match winner for Víctor Muñoz's team, his header from Savio's first half corner keeping the Aragón based side in with an outside chance of returning to Europe next season.
Deportivo La Coruña also rejoined the race for the top spots, and they too are only three points behind fourth placed Betis after a 0-1 win at struggling Albacete. Winter signing Coloccini scored the winning goal from Víctor's cross shortly before half time, and a sterling second half performance by keeper Munúa ensured the three points for Irureta's side.
Albacete sink further down into the relegation spots, as do Mallorca after they were beaten 3-0 by Racing Santander. The Cantabrians were two up with only four minutes on the clock thanks to strikes from Anderson Silva and Aganzo, and Benayoun added a third soon after the restart. The result opens up a seven point gap between Nando Yosu's side and the bottom three.
Osasuna are rapidly dropping down the table after eleven matches without a win, and a heavy 4-0 defeat at the hands of Levante means they are now level on points with Racing. Inspired by Rivera, Bernd Schuster's team were three up at the break, Juanma scoring twice and Manchev getting his first goal since last October, and Sergio García finished things off after the interval.
Bottom club Numancia's brief revival came to an end when they were beaten 2-1 by Real Sociedad, and the Soria based team ended the weekend eleven points off safety. Kovacevic returned to the Basque side to score an early goal, but the visitors put up a good fight after that, with Tevenet heading an equaliser before Barkero won it with a late goal. (13.03.05)
Barcelona bounced back from their midweek Champions' League defeat at Chelsea with a 2-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday evening. Eto'o missed an easy chance to put the Catalans ahead early on, but only a couple of minutes later Deco fired in a long shot which Luis Prieto deflected in to his own net past Aranzubia. And Giuly added a second goal before the break after Ronaldinho set him up. Etxeberría tested Valdés twice in the second half, but otherwise Frank Rijkaard's side were never really under threat, and Giuly, Ronaldinho and Maxi López could all have added to the lead later on. The win takes Barcelona eleven points clear of second placed Real Madrid pending their game on Sunday.
Betis moved up four places to third after beating their local rivals Málaga 1-2 in the only other game on Saturday. The visitors went ahead in only the fifth minute after the local defence failed to clear a free kick, Arzu's shot being blocked by his own man but falling kindly to Juanito who steered a shot past Arnau. And although Duda chipped a centre on to the bar at the other end, Edu made it two a few minutes later after Fernando set him up. Baiano pulled one back midway through the first half though, and only a good performance by Doblas enabled Serra Ferrer's side to take away the three points. (12.03.05)