First division, day 32
No slip ups by either Barcelona or Real Madrid on Sunday night, both sides winning their games by two goals to keep up their fight for the title. Barcelona maintain their six point lead after beating Getafe 2-0 in the last game of the evening. Ronaldinho opened the scoring on the half hour mark with a trademark free kick, and then set up Giuly for the second goal after the restart. There was more good news for Frank Rijkaard as well, Motta making a brief appearance at the end after a seven month absence due to a knee injury.
Earlier in the evening Real Madrid had thrown down the gauntlet with a 0-2 victory at Levante. Both goals were scored by Ronaldo, the first after connecting with a pass from Salgado before the break and the second near the end after running on to a through ball from Figo, who once again started the game on the bench. It took another good performance from Casillas though to prevent Schuster's side from getting back in the game.
It was a low scoring weekend though, with no less than three matches ending without goals. Villarreal and Betis came in to their game with a Champions League place at stake, but in the end they cancelled each other out in a 0-0 draw. Riquelme could have won it when he rattled the woodwork from a late free kick, but even so his side move above Sevilla up to third.
With their direct rivals all failing to win, Valencia could have moved back up to the European spots had they beaten struggling Mallorca. However they were unable to get past a confident Moyà, and had to settle for a 0-0 draw in the end which leaves them in seventh position. The result was another blow for Héctor Cúper's side, who are now nine points adrift of safety.
Athletic Bilbao did close up on the top spots though after beating Racing Santander 0-2. They left it late though, the first goal coming in injury time when infamous linesman Rafa Guerrero awarded them a penalty after the ball touched Juanma on the arm at close range. Orbaiz converted the kick, and Tiko scored a second into an empty net a minute later with the local keeper in the opposing penalty area. Racing's Jonathan was sent off at the end for insulting the officials.
Zaragoza also move to within four points of the UEFA places after beating bottom club Numancia 4-1. All the goals came in the last half hour, David Villa scoring twice and Ponzio and Savio adding the other two goals for the hosts, with Cani putting through his own net to temporarily level the scores after Villa's first strike.
Albacete look set to join Numancia and Mallorca in the second division next season after they lost 1-2 at home to Málaga. Again the goals came after the break, Duda starting things off for the visitors with a long shot. Pacheco made it all square for a few minutes, but substitute Amoroso won himself a penalty which he converted to take his side 14 points clear of the drop zone. (17.04.05)
Third placed Sevilla were surprisingly beaten 0-1 by Osasuna on Saturday evening, a result which could leave them out of the Champions League spots by the end of the weekend. The only goal of the game came when Morales got on the end of Delporte's cross to beat Notario midway through the first half. The visitors came close to extending their lead after the break when Webó and Moha went close, and the locals didn't react until late on, when Baptista had a couple of efforts cleared by Elia and his defence. It was a second win in a row for Javier Aguirre's side, who move thirteen points clear of the drop zone pending Sunday's games.
Espanyol moved to within two points of the Andalusians after drawing 0-0 at Atlético Madrid. A win would have taken César Ferrando's side above their opponents, but they were unable to get past an excellent Kameni, who saved a second half penalty from Fernando Torres after Soldevilla handled in the area. The Camerooni keeper also made another vital stop from Torres later on to earn his side a point and consolidate their sixth spot in the table.
Deportivo kicked off the last game on Saturday knowing that they too could close up on the European positions if they could defeat Real Sociedad. However they lost 1-0 in the end and finished the day four points behind Espanyol. Munitis missed an early chance to give Irureta's side the lead, and they paid the price a few minutes later when Uranga flung himself forward to head Garrido's cross past Munúa. (16.04.05)