First division, day 34
Although Barcelona left several of their key players at home, they travelled to Sevilla for the last match of the weekend with a chance of mathematically tying up the league title. In the end though a heavy rainstorm left the pitch totally unplayable, and after a brief delay the referee decided to postpone the game. However with both sides playing European semi-finals, it will be difficult to find an alternative date before the end of the season.
As it happened Barcelona would not in any case have been able to be crowned champions, as second placed Valencia beat Athletic Bilbao 0-3 earlier in the evening. The Basque side were on top for much of the match with Orbaiz hitting the post and Cañizares pulling off a string of saves, but David Villa popped up to help himself to a hat-trick in the last ten minutes. The striker is now only two goals behind Samuel Eto'o in the race for league's top scorer.
Real Madrid hold on to third spot, still just two points behind Valencia, after a last minute 2-1 win over bottom club Málaga. Raúl had an early strike ruled out for a non existent offside, but the visitors took the lead through Bovio midway through the first half, and held on until well after the break when Zidane equalised from the penalty spot after Raúl was fouled. Sergio Ramos headed a last gasp winner though after Cicinho played Guti's pass across goal to keep Madrid in the hunt.
Osasuna threw down the gauntlet to Valencia and Madrid though after a 0-1 win over Mallorca, and they too have a chance of the much coveted second spot which gives direct access to the Champions League. The Islanders were desperate for points themselves though, and only keeper Ricardo and the woodwork stopped them from going ahead before Delporte won the ball in his own half and ran on to score with virtually the last kick of the match.
The postponement of Sevilla's game meant that Deportivo had a chance of ousting them from the EUFA cup spots, but in the end they failed to do so after drawing 1-1 at Cádiz. Youngster Iago gave the Galicians the lead from Víctor's corner early on, but De Guzman was sent off after the restart and Lobos equalised following an indirect free kick inside the area. Depor finished with nine men after Manuel Pablo also picked up two bookings near the end.
Getafe still have an outside chance of making it up to the top six as well, and they are just three points behind Sevilla after a 1-3 win at Racing Santander. Riki opened the scoring ten minutes before the break, and although Antoñito levelled the scores soon afterwards the forward restored the lead with his second of the night after the break. Pernía wrapped things up with a free kick late on, and Racing manager Manolo Preciado handed in his resignation after the match.
Racing ended the weekend just a point above Alavés, and with Málaga almost certainly down, only three points separate five sides fighting to avoid the last two relegation spots.
Espanyol moved further away from the danger zone though with a 2-0 win over Betis, who they are now level with on points. Jarque started things off and Tamudo had a penalty kick saved by Contreras before the break. The keeper got himself sent off after the restart though when he gave away another penalty, and although his replacement Doblas also saved Tamudo's kick, the striker headed in the rebound for the final result. (23.04.06)
Celta consolidated fifth spot with a convincing 4-0 win over Zaragoza. Canobbio opened the scoring on the half hour mark when César could only push the ball in to his path after Oubiña put Baiano through, and Jorge added the second in the first minute of the second half, shooting in to an empty net after the keeper's mis-kick had fallen to David Silva. Substitute Jesús Perera headed a third ten minutes from the end, and Canobbio finished things off a minute later to take his side to within two points of Osasuna pending Sunday's games.
Real Sociedad moved away from the danger zone with a 0-2 win over a depleted Villarreal. With the Champions League semi-final coming up midweek, local coach Pellegrini left most of his big names out of his starting line up. And they paid the price when the visitors scored twice in the first half hour, Mikel Alonso opening the scoring with a long shot which keeper Viera was unable to stop, and Mark González getting the second with a low free kick which took a deflection off the defensive wall.
Atlético Madrid took advantage of Villarreal's defeat to move above them in the table after beating Alavés 0-1. Pepe Murcia was missing the injured Fernando Torres and Kezman up front, but he didn't need them as Antonio López struck what was to be the only goal of the game from a direct free kick midway through the first half. The result leaves the Vitoria base side further down in the relegation zone. (22.04.06)