First division, day 29
An incident packed game at the Calderón stadium on Thursday evening, with Sevilla running out 0-1 winners against Atlético Madrid to move back up to fifth spot in the table. Referee Ayza Gámez was the man in all the headlines though after stopping the game ten minutes from the end when visiting keeper Palop was hit by an object thrown from the crowd. Ayza had already upset the local fans in the first half when he awarded two penalties to the Andalusians (both of which were saved by local keeper Leo Franco), and when he sent off Luccin for a second bookable offence and then changed his mind over whether Antonio Puerta's goal was offside or not, the ground erupted. The game resumed half an hour later when things had calmed down, but there were further problems before the final whistle when Petrov and Perea were also given their marching orders, leaving Atlético with eight men. (23.03.06)
Osasuna's dream season continues, and they moved back up to second in the table after beating local rivals Real Sociedad 2-0. Muñoz opened the scoring in omly the fifth minute with a spectacular first time volley from Delporte's free kick, and Puñal added the second in the closing minutes from the penalty spot after Cifuentes fouled Webó. The defeat leaves Real Sociedad down in the relegation zone, and coach Gonzalo Arconada was fired the following day after only eight games in charge, technical director José Marí Bakero taking over for the time being.
Real Madrid drop down to third after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Zaragoza. Víctor Muñoz's side have become a bogey team for the Merengues, especially having knocked them out of the cup recently, and Diego Milito (who scored four past them in the Copa del Rey) beat Casillas again after Ewerthon laid the ball across just a couple of minutes in to the second half. It looked as if Madrid were heading for a fourth game in a row without a goal when Zidane headed down Beckham's cross to Ronaldo, who pulled the ball back and fired a shot past César for a last minute equaliser.
Valencia stay just a point behind Madrid after a 1-1 draw against neighbours Villarreal. Quique Flores's team went ahead with an impressive Baraja free kick late in the first half, but they were left with ten men soon afterwards when Angulo picked up a second booking. Diego Forlán levelled the scores with twenty minutes to go after turning in Franco's cross, and Riquelme could have won it for the visitors had Cañizares not saved his penalty kick a few minutes from the end.
Celta drop out of the European spots though after losing 1-0 at Alavés, who themselves move two points clear of the bottom three. The Galicians had the better of the first half and put Bonano to the test several times, but after Baiano hit the post they gradually ran out of steam. Dmitri Piterman's side did not create too many chances, but they eventually took the three points thanks to a late Aloisi penalty after Angel brought down Nené in the area four minutes from the end.
Deportivo moved up to fifth in the table, albeit seven points behind Valencia, after coming from behind to beat bottom club Málaga. The Galicians had not won in the Riazor stadium in over three months, and in the first half they were over-run by their visitors who went ahead shortly before the break with a magnificent free kick from Duda. However Víctor scored twice from wide free kicks after the restart, the first bouncing past everyone and the second sailing over Arnau's head, and the Andalusians ended with nine men after Juan Rodríguez and Alexis were sent off just before the final whistle.
Málaga remain four points adrift at the bottom, but the fight to avoid the other two relegation spots is still fairly tight, with only six points separating twelfth placed Racing Santander from next to bottom spot. The Cantabrians were dragged back into the struggle after losing 1-0 to Betis, who themselves move out of the drop zone as a result. Manolo Preciado's side were up against it after Pinillos was sent off on the hour mark for a foul on Joaquín, and Edu got what was to be the winner a few minutes later after good work by Dani.
An injury time strike from Yeste saved a point for Athletic Bilbao in a 1-1 draw with Espanyol. The Basque side wasted a good chance to go ahead when they were awarded a penalty ten minutes before the break, but Aduriz slipped when taking the kick allowing Gorka an easy save. Four minutes later Juanfran scored at the other end after Edu Costa set him up, and it looked as if the Catalans were on their way to picking up three points when Yeste struck.
Mallorca moved further away from the danger zone after beating Cádiz 1-0, their sixth match in a row without defeat under new coach Gregorio Manzano. The only goal of the game came with a quarter of an hour on the clock, Víctor heading a long Basinas free kick down past Límia. The result leaves the Andalusians down in nineteenth spot, having only won once in the last nine games. (22.03.06)
Barcelona extended their lead at the top of the table after coming from behind to beat Getafe 3-1. Bernd Schuster's side silenced the Nou Camp when ex Barça B forward Nano headed Cotelo's cross past Valdés with only five minutes on the clock, but midway through the first half the scores were levelled when Matellán deflected the ball in to his own net after Giuly headed a Van Bronckhorst centre back across goal. And Eto'o wrapped things up with two goals after the break, the first after taking a return pass from Giuly and the second (his one hundredth goal in La Liga) after birthday boy Ronaldinho put him through. (21.03.06)