First division, day 33
Valencia applauded cup winners Espanyol on to the pitch before their game on Sunday night, but that was the only concession they gave them as they went on to consolidate second spot with a 4-0 victory. David Villa opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Moisés fouled the striker shortly before the break, and the visitors were left with ten men when Costa was shown a second yellow card on the hour mark. Quique Flores's side took advantage to score twice in the next ten minutes with headed goals from Ayala and Mista, and Baraja wrapped things up with a fourth goal near the end.
Real Madrid dropped two points behind Valencia after they could only draw 1-1 at neighbours Getafe, their third such result in a row. Only Baptista and Casillas came out of the game with any credit for the visitors, the former rattling the bar and having a shot cleared off the line and the latter keeping out Riki and Pernía before the break. Baptista finally put his side ahead a quarter of an hour in to the second half despite claims from the local players for hand ball, but ex Madrid defender Tena headed the equaliser from Contra's free kick near the end.
Osasuna stay a point behind Madrid after they were held to a 1-1 draw by bottom club Málaga. Puñal gave the Pamplona based side the lead with a hotly disputed penalty with half an hour on the clock after Nacho pulled back David López on the edge of the area, but Chengue Morales made it all square against his old club late in the second half. The visitors ended with ten men after Salva was sent off, and they ended the weekend ten points away from safety.
Celta put an end to the six game unbeaten run of Betis with a 0-2 victory which takes them back up to fifth in the table. Jorge started things off for Fernando Vázquez's side when he beat Contreras from the edge of the area in the seventeenth minute, and late substitute Jesús Perera got the second just a few minutes after coming on.
Atlético Madrid kept their slim hopes of European football alive after a 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao. The only goal of the match came near the end when Fernando Torres got on the end of Gabi's free kick to head past Lafuente, leaving the Basque side back just two points away from the drop zone.
Meanwhile Cádiz kept themselves in the fight to avoid relegation with a 1-2 win at Zaragoza, and they are now only three points away from seventeenth placed Espanyol. The home side appeared to be over their cup final defeat when Savio gave them the lead early on, but the Andalusians turned the result around either side of half time with a Lobos penalty and a strike from Pavoni. (16.04.06)
A low scoring start to the weekend, with only two goals in the first four games. Fifth placed Sevilla held off the challenge of Deportivo in the Riazor stadium, the 0-0 draw thanks in part to good performances by keepers Molina and Palop. A similar result as well between Mallorca and Alavés, the scoreless draw not really favouring either side in their fight to avoid the drop. Real Sociedad took advantage to climb out of the bottom three above them both after a 1-0 win against Racing Santander, Mark González once again the saviour with a first time volley from the edge of the area a quarter of an hour from the end. With Athletic and Espanyol still to play tomorrow, only two points now separate six sides struggling to avoid the third relegation spot. (15.04.06)
Spain's two surviving Champions League sides Barcelona and Villarreal brought forward their league game to Friday night to enable the teams to prepare for their midweek matches. Both coaches rested key players, but it was Frank Rijkaard's side who came out on top with a 1-0 win which extends their lead over their nearest rivals to 14 points pending the rest of the Easter weekend fixtures. The only goal came early on, Samuel Eto'o beating keeper Barbosa with a low shot for his 24th of the season. Substitute Maxi López had a goal disallowed, but Franco and José Marí both had chances to save a point later on. The downside for the managers though were injuries to Larsson, Ezquerro, Gonzalo and Peña which could keep them out of the European semi-finals. (14.04.06)