First division, day 18
Leaders Sevilla were presented with an award as the best team in the world in 2006. But they were knocked off their pedestal after being beaten 1-2 by a Mallorca side who were languishing just above the relegation zone following four defeats in a row. Kanouté put the Andalusians ahead from the penalty spot midway through the first half after Moyà pushed over Jesús Navas in the area. But Nunes levelled the scores after Alves failed to clear a corner just a couple of minutes after the restart, and Maxi López rolled home the winner after Jordi took advantage of a mix up in defence to set him up.
Real Madrid capitalized on the defeats by Sevilla and Barcelona to beat Zaragoza 1-0 and move level with the Blaugrana in the table. After all the week's goings on, Fabio Capello put out a much changed side. And although they didn't take full advantage of their chances, they went ahead when Van Nistelrooy got on the end of Higuain's cross shortly before half time. Madrid should have increased their lead after the interval, but in the end they were grateful for the three points after Piqué headed against the bar late on.
Atlético Madrid are just a point outside of the Champions League spots after a comfortable 1-3 win at Celta. Fernando Torres won himself an early penalty, and although Pinto kept out his kick, the striker headed the rebound back in to open the scoring. And a few minutes later Torres got his second of the night after latching on to a pass by Agüero to shoot past the keeper. Torres turned provider after the restart, crossing in for Agüero to make it three, and Nené got a late consolation for the home side near the end.
Recreativo stay in seventh spot after drawing 1-1 with Deportivo. Javi Guerrero got on the end of Cazorla's cross to poke a shot past Aouate in the tenth minute, but Arizmendi equalised soon afterwards with a long shot which caught López Vallejo off guard. Both sides had chances after that, with Arizmendi in particular bringing a couple of saves out of the local keeper and then shooting wide near the end, but both sides were happy with a point.
Osasuna bounced back from their defeat at Real Sociedad last week to thrash Betis 5-1 and move up to eighth in the table. Soldado and Puñal put the Pamplona based side two up within the first half an hour, and although Arzu got one back before the break, David López restored the two goal cushion soon after the restart. Soldado made it four on the hour mark and Webó headed a fifth a few minutes later to hand Luis Fernández a first defeat since taking over.
Betis stay down in the relegation zone, as do Real Sociedad, who were beaten 1-0 by Racing Santander. The Cantabrians hadn't won against their rivals in the Sardinero stadium for 10 years, and although Zigic went close two or three times it looked as if a draw was on the cards. But with the game coming to an end Zigic went down under a push by Mikel González, and Garay slotted home the resulting penalty.
A last minute penalty at the San Mamés stadium as well, but in this case Villarreal keeper Viera saved Yeste's kick to ensure a 0-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao. Earlier in the second half Diego Forlán had collected a long ball from Samoza to beat Aranzubia and score what was to prove the only goal of the game. It was a first win in five matches for Pellegrini's side, and the defeat leaves Athletic just two points outside the drop zone.
Bottom club Gimnàstic are deeper in trouble though after losing 1-3 to Getafe. The visitors had gone seven games without a win, but Vivar Dorado headed them in to the lead from Cotelo's free kick and Güiza got a second with a shot on the turn before the break. Llera gave the home fans hope when he turned in Campano's cross after the restart, but Casquero ran on to Güiza's pass to wrap things up soon afterwards. (14.01.07)
Barcelona were beaten 3-1 by city neighbours Espanyol on Saturday evening, a result which means that Frank Rijkaard's side will not catch leaders Sevilla this weekend. Ronaldinho hit the bar with a free kick early on, but Luis García got on the end of Tamudo's cross to put the locals ahead on the half hour mark. Saviola came on at the break and levelled the scores soon afterwards, but Tamudo restored the lead with a header from Sergio Sánchez's cross, and Rufete made sure of the three points with a third goal on a quick breakaway in injury time.
Valencia moved up to third spot, within two points of Barcelona, after beating Levante in the day's other city derby. The home side were on top right from the start, but López Caro's team held on until early in the second half, when substitute Hugo viana beat Molina with a long shot. Morientes turned in a wayward shot from Silva to make it two a few minutes later, and Ayala wrapped things up with a header from Villa's free kick later on. (13.01.07)