First division, day 27
Leaders Barcelona were beaten 2-1 by Osasuna in the last game on Sunday night, a result which consolidates Javier Aguirre's side in fourth spot. The locals had not won at home since the start of the year, but they took the lead through Valdo when Víctor Valdés dropped a David López free kick at his feet with twenty minutes gone. Puñal made it two in the second half from a hotly disputed penalty after Edmilson was sent off for a foul on Milosevic, and although Ronaldinho put through substitute Larsson for him to pull one back, Barça's challenge ended when Motta was also shown a red card a few minutes later.
Sevilla lost ground on Osasuna after they were beaten 2-1 by Alavés, and they remain in sixth spot. Saviola got the Andalusians off to a good start with an early goal, but Aitor Ocio gave away a penalty and got himself sent off five minutes later for stopping the ball with his hands. Palop saved Nené's spot kick, but the Brazilian winger made up for his mistake with a spectacular strike to level the scores soon afterwards. Bodipo put the locals ahead just before half time after De Lucas set him up, and although Bodipo and Juanito were both sent off later in the second half, the hosts held on for three points which takes them out of the drop zone.
Villarreal moved to within a point of Sevilla after a 1-1 draw at Mallorca. Pellegrini's side fell behind with less than a minute on the clock when Pereyra headed a cross from Pisculichi past Viera following a short free kick, but José Marí levelled the scores from Josemi's cross midway through the first half. The locals were unlucky to have a couple of penalty appeals turned down after the break, but they still kept up their unbeaten record since Gregorio Manzano took over four games ago.
Atlético Madrid beat Racing Santander 2-1 later in the evening to close up to within two points of the European spots. All three goals came in a ten minute period in the second half, Fernando Torres starting things off with a controversial penalty after Colsa fell under Ayoze's challenge. Damià headed an equaliser from Portilla's corner, but Pablo restored the lead, also with a header from a Petrov corner, and they held on for a win even though Gabi was sent off in injury time.
Getafe came away from Zaragoza with a 1-2 victory which virtually ensures them of another year in the top flight. Diego Milito put the hosts in front after he converted Ewerthon's cross around the half hour mark, but two goals from Paunovic either side of half time turned the scoreline around. Alvaro was sent off for the home side in between, but even so they hit the woodwork twice as they fought to get back in the second half.
An injury time penalty gave Athletic Bilbao a 1-0 win over Cádiz, a result which takes them out of the relegation spots and leaves their opponents in next to bottom place. Javier Clemente's side were left a man short when Amorebieta was sent off for a second bookable offence with only a quarter of an hour gone, but the visitors were unable to take advantage. With a draw seemingly on the cards, Varela punched an inswinging Julen Guerrero corner off the line, earning himself a red card and giving away a penalty which Tiko converted at the second attempt.
If last weekend the Basque sides were occupying the relegation spots, this week it was the turn of the Andalusians. Betis and Málaga did themselves no favours with a 1-1 draw which leaves both in the bottom three alongside Cádiz. Rivas headed the locals in front from Joaquín's free kick in the first half, but Hidalgo equalised after the break following a Duda free kick, and Arnau made a last minute save from Xisco to deny the hosts the three points. (12.03.06)
The battle for second place between Valencia and Real Madrid ended in a goal-less draw, leaving the two sides nine points adrift of Barcelona pending their game at Osasuna tomorrow. López Caro's side had the best chance of the match to take the three points though when they were awarded a last minute penalty, but Cañizares saved Ronaldo's spot kick. Madrid had been let off a penalty themselves in the first half, but otherwise both keepers were on top with few opportunities for either side. The result extends Valencia's unbeaten run to 16 games and gives them the head-to-head advantage over their rivals, although the visitors will probably be happier with the point after their elimination from the Champions League midweek.
Celta missed out on a chance to move back up in to the Champions League spots after they were beaten 2-0 by Espanyol. The Galicians fell behind in the twelfth minute when Luis García pulled down a long pass from De la Peña and laid the ball across for Tamudo to score, and Fredson made it two before the break with a wickedly bending shot past Pinto. By then the locals were playing with ten men after Armando Sá was sent off for bringing down De Ridder as he advanced on goal, but they held on throughout the second half for three points which takes them away from the danger zone.
The win was a boost for Miguel Angel Lotina's side prior to their midweek Copa del Rey semi-final. Their opponents for that match Deportivo were not so fortunate though, a 0-1 defeat at the hands of Real Sociedad leaving them further away from the European spots. The only goal of the game came seconds after the restart, Garitano heading home a corner to give the Basque side three valuable points. (11.03.06)