First division, day 17
Osasuna stay within two points of leaders Barcelona after beating a depleted Atlético Madrid 2-1 in the last game of the year. Petrov put the visitors ahead in the twenty fifth minute after Gabi's shot came back off the post, but the Pamplona base side turned the scoreline around in the next eight minutes, Raúl García picking up a pass from Romeo to beat fifth choice keeper Roberto, and Romeo getting on the end of Delporte's cross to score the second himself. It was a ninth home win in a row for Javier Aguirre's side, rounding off what has been the most successful year in their history. (22.12.05)
Further problems for Real Madrid, a 1-2 defeat at home to Racing Santander leaving them out of the Champions League spots. López Caro's side had the better chances early on, but Ayoze put the Cantabrians ahead with a well struck free kick in the twentieth minute, and Felipe Melo picked up Antoñito's pass to make it two soon afterwards. Ronaldo headed one back midway through the second half, but Aouate and his defence stood firm after that for three invaluable points.
Valencia took advantage of slip ups by the teams above them to move up to the table to third after a 3-0 win over Mallorca. All three goals came in the second half, with Albelda starting things off less than a minute after the restart with an unstoppable shot from the edge of the area. David Villa made it two a few minutes later with an acrobatic volley after Prats could only push out Angulo's shot, and Fabio Aurelio wrapped things up when he connected with Aimar's pass ten minutes from the end.
Villarreal drop to fourth after they were held to a 0-0 draw by Málaga. The visitors were on top throughout the first half, with Arnau saving well from Riquelme, Diego Forlán and Guayre, and Riquelme putting another chance wide. But the locals came back after the restart, and should have taken the lead when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Edgar. However Viera dived to save Salva's spot kick, and after that both sides settled for a point.
A surprise defeat for Deportivo La Coruña, who were beaten 1-2 by Espanyol even though the Catalans played most of the second half with ten men after Moisés was sent off. The two sides were even up until the last quarter of an hour, when Fredson put the visitors ahead following a corner and Armando Sá added a second soon afterwards. Diego Tristán headed a goal back near the end, but it was too little too late.
Deportivo stay in sixth place though after Sevilla lost 1-0 to Getafe. Bernd Schuster's side had only won one of their last eight games, but they went ahead shortly before the break when Güiza beat Palop with a long shot. The locals were left a man short after Mario Cotelo was sent off ten minutes from the end, but they held on for a much needed victory.
Zaragoza came back from two goals down to beat Athletic Bilbao 3-2, a result which left Javier Clemente's side just above the relegation spots. Lacruz headed the visitors in to the lead midway through the first half from Yeste's cross, and Etxeberría made it two immediately after the restart. But Ewerthon got one back from the penalty spot minutes later, and then scored another from a tight angle to level the scores. And with a quarter of an hour to go Diego Milito struck the winner after beating the keeper to Cani's cross.
Real Sociedad manager José María Amorrortu breathed a sigh of relief after his side beat struggling Cádiz 2-0. The coach had been under question recently, but Gabilondo gave the locals an early lead on a breakaway. The Andalusians put up a good fight as always, but they were left with ten men when Pavoni picked up a second booking and were sunk in the end by a Xabi Prieto penalty after Fleurquín fouled Uranga.
Betis coach Serra Ferrer was also a happy man after his side beat Alavés 3-0 to move to the brink of getting out of the relegation zone. Local keeper Doblas saved a Nené penalty in the first half, but Fernando latched on to Edu's pass to open the scoring on the stroke of half time. Xisco got a second after the interval and Joaquín made it three later on to leave Dmitri Piterman's side firmly anchored to the bottom of the table. (21.12.05)
A thirteenth straight win for Barcelona, Frank Rijkaard's side beating Celta 2-0 in the first match of the midweek round of games to move five points clear of Osasuna. Ronaldinho and Eto'o showed off their awards as the World's first and third best players before kick off, but the visitors held their own and could have taken the lead had Baiano's angled shot not come back off the far post. Soon afterwards though a quickly taken free kick by Ronaldinho caught the defence napping, and Eto'o took advantage to run through and beat Esteban. Baiano headed another chance wide after the restart, but before long Eto'o wrapped things up with his second goal after good work by Iniesta, the Camerooni striker's seventeenth goal in as many league games. (20.12.05)