First division - day 20
Real Madrid bounced back from their midweek cup defeat, beating city rivals Atlético Madrid 0-2 to stay seven points clear at the top of the table. With less than a minute on the clock they were ahead, Raúl turning a cross from Robinho past Abbiati from close up. Casillas was called upon to save from Forlán, Raúl García and Agüero, and Motta headed a corner against the bar, but with the first half coming to a close Van Nistelrooy got on the end of Sneijder's corner to make it two. Both sides had chances after that, but Abbiati and Casillas were not really troubled.
Barcelona stay in touch with the leaders after a 1-0 win over sixth placed Racing Santander. Henry and Bojan went close before Henry got what was to be the only goal of the game, heading in from close to goal after an attempt by César Navas to clear Deco's corner fell kindly to him. Valdés had to save from Oscar Serrano soon after the restart, but the Cantabrians ran out of forwards after Tchité went off injured. The good news for Frank Rijkaard though was the return of Messi, who came on for a brief appearance in the second half.
Atlético hold on to fourth spot after Espanyol lost 2-1 at Valladolid. Llorente ran on to Víctor's pass straight from the kick off to open the scoring, the goal timed at under eight seconds which, if confirmed, will be the fastest ever in the history of La Liga. And the on-form striker got his second of the night half an hour later, Víctor once again setting him up after pulling down a long pass from Marcos. Torrejón headed one back from a Luis García free kick after the restart, but Asenjo and his defence held fast after that.
The top six have a five point gap over the rest, but most of the other sides are bunched together, with only five points separating seventh placed Valladolid from eighteenth placed Murcia, who drop into the relegation zone after losing 3-1 to Zaragoza. Oliveira opened the scoring in the first half and Diego Milito added two more after the restart, with Iván Alonso heading a late consolation in injury time. It was a first win in ten games for the home side, a good start for new coach Ander Garitano.
Osasuna climbed out of the bottom three after a 2-0 win over Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao on a foggy night in Pamplona. Both goals came in a two minute period in the second half, Dady curling a long free kick past Aranzubia and Carlos Vela running on to a long clearance from Ricardo, helped on by Dady, to fire a shot in off the post. Prior to the goals Athletic had been left with ten men after Yeste was sent off for a push on an opponent.
Betis and Recreativo are both just clear of the drop zone after drawing 1-1 in their local derby. Edu headed the locals into the lead from Caffa's cross ten minutes in to the second half, but thier joy only lasted two minutes before Javi Guerrero equalised, heading a Carlos Martins free kick on past Ricardo. Both sides are just ahead of Murcia and just below Athletic on goal difference.
Deportivo are deeper in trouble after losing 1-0 to Almería, and Miguel Angel Lotina's side are now five points away from safety. The Galicians came close to taking the lead when Riki hit the bar after the break, but with two minutes to go Pulido poked a shot past Fabricio after Juanito headed on Corona's free kick to take the three points.
Only Levante are below Depor, and they are already resigned to relegation despite a 2-2 draw with Mallorca. Geijo's early strike for the home side was overturned by a goal in each half from Güiza, but Alvaro headed home a Courtois free kick near the end to give his side only their ninth point of the season. (20.01.08)
Villarreal moved up to third in the table after beating neighbours Valencia 3-0 on Saturday evening. Pires gave Pellegrini's side an early lead when he beat Hildebrand from left of the area, and Nihat could have increased the lead when he hit the post twice before the break. Baraja rattled the crossbar at the other end in between, but Cani hit the bar again for the locals after the restart, and from the ensuing corner Capdevila made it two. And Nihat wrapped things up later on after Rossi set him up to leave Ronald Koeman's side struggling without a win in their last eight league games.
Earlier in the evening Getafe finally got their revenge for their cup final defeat, beating Sevilla 3-2. Luis Fabiano's headed goal was cancelled out by Casquero before the interval, and Albín headed Michael Laudrup's side in front after the restart. Dragutinovic appeared to have saved a point with a header from Chevantón's corner with two minutes to go, but with the game in injury time Contra got on the end of Gavilán's free kick to head the winner past De Sanctis. (19.01.08)