First division, day 32
Barcelona maintained their eleven point lead at the top of the table despite drawing 2-2 at Racing Santander on a rainy Sunday evening. After the midweek Champions League game, Rijkaard rested Ronaldinho, but Larsson put his side ahead on the quarter hour mark after Van Bommel set him up. The Cantabrians turned the result around in five minutes though, Oscar Serrano passing in for Antoñito to turn Rodri and beat Valdés, and then scoring himself after picking up a long ball from Pinillos. Eto'o squared the match again though after picking up a pass from Giuly, and Deco hit the post before half time. Barça ended the game with ten men after Puyol picked up a second booking right at the end.
Osasuna kept up their push for a Champions League spot with a 1-2 win against Basque neighbours Alavés, and Javier Aguirre's side are now only one point behind Valencia and Real Madrid. The home side had not let in a goal in four games, but they fell behind when Webó beat Costanzo after the keeper could only push out David López's free kick. Milosevic headed a second after the break, but Aloisi fired a penalty kick over the bar before Bodipo headed a late consolation in the last minute.
Osasuna are now six points clear of fifth placed Sevilla, who could only draw 1-1 at home to Zaragoza. With one eye on next week's cup final, the visitors put out a much changed side, but they went ahead just a minute in to the second half when Sergio García caught Palop off his line with a long shot. Maresca headed an equaliser though in the last minute to save his side a point and keep them ahead of Celta.
It was a strange weekend though, with no home wins and seven draws in the ten games. Villarreal and Deportivo began the last match of the day with a chance to move up to the European spots, but they cancelled each other out in another 1-1 draw. Sergio opened the scoring for the visitors with a low shot twenty minutes from the end, but just three minutes later Guille Franco levelled the scores with a header from Marcos Senna's corner.
There were 1-1 scorelines in the other two matches on Sunday as well. Espanyol and Atlético Madrid both really needed to win, the former to move away from the danger zone prior to their cup final appearance and the latter to move closer to the European positions, but in the end they had to settle for a point. Gabi put the visitors ahead with a long shot which deflected in off Lopo immediately after the restart, but Pandiani headed in a cross from Tamudo later on.
Athletic Bilbao and Mallorca also failed to move away from the danger zone after their 1-1 result, and they both ended the weekend down in the lower reaches of the table. Yeste put the Basque side ahead in only the second minute, but they had to make three substitutions due to injuries before the break and Arango got the equaliser after good work by Tuni midway through the first half. (09.04.06)
Real Madrid's hopes of catching leaders Barcelona virtually came to an end when they were held to a 1-1 draw by struggling Real Sociedad, and López Caro's side ended the day in third spot. The hosts took the lead when Ronaldo swept a shot past Riesgo from Zidane's free kick, his fourth goal in as many games and his one hundredth in a Real Madrid shirt. But with just over an hour gone, an active Mark González equalised after Casillas dropped Mikel Alonso's cross at his feet. When Guti got himself sent off for insulting the referee near the end it was all over, and many fans didn't wait until the final whistle before leaving the ground.
Valencia moved up to second spot in the league, ahead of Real Madrid thanks to a better head-to-head record, after beating Celta 0-1 on Saturday evening. A win would have taken the Galicians to within two points of their opponents, but they could now be out of the European places if results go against them on Sunday. The only goal of the game came on a quick breakaway with half an hour gone, Angulo driving a low shot under Pinto after Regueiro squared the ball across.
Málaga said goodbye to any hope of avoiding relegation after a last minute defeat at the hands of Getafe, leaving the Andalusians nine points away from safety. Paunovic put the visitors ahead with a shot from the edge of the area in the eighteenth minute, and although half time substitute Pablo Couñago equalised after Luis García could only parry a shot from Gabriel, Paunovic fired a spectacular volley into the net from the tightest of angles to give Bernd Schuster's side another win.
Cádiz's chances of survival also took a blow when they were held to a last minute draw by neighbours Betis. Víctor Espárrago's side had taken the lead with a hotly disputed Lobos penalty midway through the second half after Melli pushed Jonathan Sesma in the area, but with a minute to go Joaquín deflected a long free kick from Marcos Assunçao down past Limia to save a point for his side. (08.04.06)