First division - day 33
Real Madrid moved up to second in the table after a thrilling 3-2 win over title rivals Sevilla. The visitors got the edge when Maresca hooked a spectacular volley past Casillas shortly before the break, but Guti came on after the restart to set up Van Nistelrooy and then Robinho for them to turn the scoreline around. Robinho and Aitor Ocio were both sent off, but with four minutes to go Van Nistelrooy appeared to have wrapped things up when he headed in from close up. Chevantón struck home an injury time free kick though to put the result in doubt until the final whistle.
Zaragoza lost ground on the teams in the Champions League spots after they were held to a 0-0 draw by Racing Santander. The Cantabrians are chasing the European places themselves after one of their best ever campaigns, and they were lucky not to go ahead in the first half after failing to convert several chances. But the home side came back after the break, and Sergio García, Diego Milito, Aimar and Ewerthon all could have won it for Víctor Fernández's side later on.
The fight for the European spots is hotting up though, with several sides in the running. Sixth placed Atlético Madrid were beaten 2-1 by Espanyol, despite the fact that the home side made eight changes after their midweek UEFA cup victory. Moha struck home a spectacular volley in the eighth minute to open the scoring, and Pandiani scored the easiest of goals after Cuéllar could only push Coro's cross into his path. Petrov got one back in the dying minutes, but too late to change the result.
Atlético are now only a point above Recreativo, who were held to a 0-0 draw by Athletic Bilbao. The Andalusians felt themselves unlucky not to take the three points though after Sinama-Pongolle and Rosu both fired shots against the crossbar and Cazorla had an effort cleared off the line by Iraola. The Basque side had Amorebieta sent off midway through the second half, but they held on for a valuable point.
Getafe are up to eighth, level with Racing and one point behind Recre, after beating Betis 0-2. It was the Andalusians' last match in exile in the Cartuja stadium, where they have only picked up one point in three games. Güiza put the visitors ahead when he latched on to Manu's cross on the quarter hour mark, and Casquero wrapped things up before the break with a chip over the head of keeper Contreras.
Down at the bottom, Levante moved away from the relegation spots after beating Gimnàstic 2-0. The Valencia based side had not won in ten games, but they took the lead midway through the first half when César Navas headed Riga's free kick into his own net. And Riga got the second himself a few minutes later from a possible offside position, opening up a nine point gap over the Catalans who are now virtually relegated.
Celta are in deeper trouble as well though after losing 1-0 at Villarreal, and they ended the weekend in the drop zone, three points away from safety. Both sides had strong penalty appeals turned down before an unmarked Guille Franco headed home Cani's corner midway through the second half. Villarreal still have hopes of pipping six close rivals to the Intertoto cup spot, although they are still three points behind Recre in tenth position.
Osasuna are still not clear of danger after they were beaten 3-1 by Mallorca, who themselves are now mathematically safe. Varela fired the islanders into the lead shortly before the interval, and although Raúl García equalised after good work by Valdo, Jonás Gutiérrez restored the lead following a spectacular run. And Jankovic finished things off after Arango's shot came back off both post to tie up a record seventh win in a row at the San Moix stadium. (06.05.07)
Barcelona survived their first match ball, beating struggling Real Sociedad 0-2 to open up a four point gap at the top pending the duel between Real Madrid and Sevilla on Sunday. Iniesta picked up a pass from Ronaldinho to put Frank Rijkaard's side into the lead at the start of the second half. And Eto'o ran on to another Ronaldinho through ball in the dying minutes to beat Bravo and wrap things up. The result was a blow for the Basque side, who are still three points away from safety.
Fourth placed Valencia closed up on the leaders with a 1-2 win over Deportivo later in the evening. Hugo Viana volleyed Quique Flores's side into the lead after David Silva's cross was blocked by Lopo shortly before the break, and although Taborda equalised seconds after coming on midway through the second half, David Silva got on the end of Angulo's cross to score the winner soon afterwards. (05.05.07)