First division, day 26
Barcelona's lead at the top of the table was extended to ten points after second placed Valencia were held to a 0-0 draw by Málaga. Despite the result it was a lively match, with Miguel and Fabio Aurelio hitting the woodwork for the visitors and Bovio doing likewise for the home side. Keepers Manolo (Málaga's third choice) and Cañizares were also kept busy, but in the end both teams had to settle for a point which leaves the hosts further adrift at the bottom of the table and takes Quique Flores's side down to third behind Real Madrid, who they meet next weekend.
Celta are back up to fifth in the table after beating fourth placed Osasuna 2-0, and the Galicians are now only a point behind Javier Aguirre's side. Fernando Baiaino opened the scoring in only the fifth minute after picking up a short pass to beat Elía from outside of the area, and Canobbio got the second after the restart with a dazzling run past two or three defenders before rounding the keeper to shoot in to the empty net. Tempers frayed in the end though, and Osasuna's Muñoz was shown a red card after a bust up involving several players.
Sevilla also move back to the UEFA spots after losing out to Villarreal the day before, a 2-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao enough to take them up to sixth. Maresca gave them an early lead from the penalty spot after Kanouté was fouled, but Aduriz levelled the scores five minutes later with a half hit shot which looped in to the goal. The Andalusians were left with ten men when Dragutinovic was sent off shortly before half time, but even so Kanouté got the winner in the second half after Maresca headed on a long ball from Alves.
Zaragoza are not out of the running for a place in Europe though, their 1-3 win at Real Sociedad keeping them in the top half of the table. Nihat returned for the Basque side and gave them the lead in the ninth minute after Skoubo played on Rekarte's cross. But Ewerthon got on the end of Cani's cross to level the scores after the restart, and Oscar González made it two with a deflected shot before Ewerthon wrapped things up with a third headed goal.
Getafe are just behind Zaragoza after the Madrid based side beat Betis 1-0. The only goal came early on, Paunovic heading home Gavilán's corner with just under a quarter of an hour gone, but it could have been more had Güiza not shot wide on a couple of occasions, and had Pernia not rattled the bar with a second half free kick. The visitors only reacted in the last few minutes with efforts from Edu and Luis Fernández.
Racing Santander and Mallorca both edged away from the drop zone after sharing the points in a dull 0-0 draw. Only an early shot from Tuni and a second half effort from Pinilla caused any excitement for the crowd, who ended up whistling the home players after dropping points at home again. The Cantabrians have only won twice this season at the Sardinero stadium, and the visitors will be the happier of the two after extending Gregorio Manzano's unbeaten run in charge to three games. (05.03.06)
Barcelona kept up their push for a second league title in a row after beating Deportivo 3-2. Things seemed to be going their way when Ronaldinho beat Molina with a free kick in the third minute. But Juanma levelled the scores with a header following a short corner, and Andrade put the Galicians ahead on the half hour mark when he headed a Munitis cross down past Valdés. Larsson equalised though before the break with another header from Ronaldinho's corner, and Eto'o got the winner from close to goal after another corner from Ronaldinho squeezed past the defence with just over an hour on the clock.
Real Madrid kept in touch with the leaders after beating city neighbours Atlético Madrid 2-1 earlier in the evening. After the surprise resignation of Florentino Pérez midweek, new club president Fernando Martín took over his seat in the directors' box. López Caro decided to leave Ronaldo out of the squad, and his replacement Cassano took advantage to open the scoring, heading a Roberto Carlos cross past Leo Franco in the fourth minute. A clever back-heel flick from Kezman made it all square a few minutes later, but Baptista got on the end of a Beckham cross to get the winner later in the first half.
Villarreal moved back up to fifth in the table pending Sunday's results after coming from behind twice to beat Alavés 3-2. The visitors took the lead in the tenth minute when Aloisi turned in Bodipo's cross, and although Riquelme equalised directly from an inswinging corner, De Lucas ran on Juanito's pass to restore the lead before half time. Pellegrini brought on Guille Franco after the break though, and the new signing set up Riquelme for him to level the scores once again, and then headed the winning goal himself from Héctor Font's cross.
Cádiz got their first win in seven games, beating Espanyol 2-0 to move out of the relegation spots. Both goals came after the break, Abraham Paz heading the Andalusians in to the lead from Jonathan Sesma's free kick a quarter of an hour from the end. And Paz returned the complement with two minutes to go, setting up Sesma for him to beat Gorka and wrap things up. (04.03.06)