First division - day 23
A magnificent performance by Real Madrid on Sunday, Bernd Schuster's side hammering Valladolid 7-0 to move eight points clear at the top of the table. Guti was undoubtedly the star of the match with a hand in virtually all the goals, starting with an assist for Baptista to start things off in the eighth minute. Casillas had to make a couple of saves, but then followed four goals in the quarter hour leading up to half time, Raúl and Robben both latching on to passes from Guti to score, Raúl converting a penalty after Sergio Asenjo brought down Baptista, and Guti himself getting the fifth. Guti got his second of the night on the hour mark, and then rounded things off with a headed pass to set up Drenthe for the seventh goal later on.
Earlier in the evening Real's neighbours Atlético Madrid moved back up to fourth after beating sixth placed Racing Santander 0-2. Both goals were scored by Diego Forlán in the second half, the first after picking up a square pass from Kun Agüero, and the second with a spectacular shot from outside of the area. The Cantabrians had started well but soon handed over control, and only some fine saves from Coltorti prevented a bigger scoreline. Racing stay in the European spots, but three teams are now only one point behind them.
Espanyol drop out of the top four after a 1-2 defeat at the hands of Recreativo. B team coach Manolo Zambrano was in charge of the Andalusians for the first time after Víctor Muñoz was fired midweek, and he saw Sinama-Pongolle hit the post before scoring two times in an eight minute period in the first half. Injuries to Jonathan, Moisés and Lacruz meant that Valverde had used up all his substitutes by the interval, but new signing Ewerthon came on to get one back shortly before half time. Riera hit the bar after the restart, but Recre held on for three points which takes them out of the drop zone.
Valencia moved to within a point of the top six after beating Betis 3-1 in the last match on Sunday. Ronald Koeman's side had not scored in almost seven hours at the Mestalla stadium, but David Villa put them ahead early on after picking up a pass from Moretti. Silva added a second, referee Daudén Ibáñez failing to note that Villa handled in the build up, and Edu headed one back two minutes in to the second half, the referee again not picking up a clear offside. There was nothing wrong with Villa's second goal near the end though, a well struck free kick into the top corner of the net.
Almería are the surprise package this season though, and they are level with Valencia and Sevilla after holding Mallorca to a 0-0 draw in their San Moix stadium. Visiting keeper Diego Alves once again contributed to the result with saves from Güiza, Jonás and Arango after the break, but otherwise the main story of note (which just about sums up the match) was the fact that the Andalusians had to wear Mallorca's change shorts after a clash of colours.
Deportivo are back down in the relegation spots after the three sides below them all won on Sunday. Athletic Bilbao beat bottom club Levante 1-0, although it was not a convincing victory against a side which is in disarray. Yeste and Llorente hit the woodwork before Llorente headed in an Aduríz cross ten minutes in to the second half, but Miguel Angel also headed against the post at the other end as the visitors looked to get something out of the match.
Osasuna also won by a single goal against Zaragoza in a match which began with a protest by local fans against some poor refereeing decisions in recent weeks. They had nothing to complain about this time though, Plasil getting the only goal of the game with a shot which deflected in off a defender on the stroke of half time. It was a first defeat for Zaragoza's new coach Javier Irureta since taking over a couple of weeks ago. (10.02.08)
Sevilla and Barcelona drew 1-1 on Saturday evening, a result which didn't favour the objectives of either side. The locals dominated throughout the first half, Víctor Valdés having to make a string of saves before Diego Capel got on the end of a Jesús Navas cross to open the scoring ten minutes before the break. Rijkaard threw on Ronaldinho at half time, but he failed to hit the target from any of direct five free kicks. However with a quarter of an hour to go Xavi combined with Messi to poke a shot past Palop and level the scores, and soon afterwards Keita was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Villarreal are up to third in the table after a last minute 0-1 victory against Murcia. Pellegrini's side were lucky not to be behind earlier on though, Jofre going close a couple of times before the break and Goitom having a shot cleared and a penalty appeal turned down after the restart. But with the game in the third minute of injury time Guille Franco picked up a lofted pass from Josico to force the ball past Notario, the referee waving away claims by the local players for offside. The defeat leaves Murcia further down in the bottom three.
Deportivo and Getafe shared the points in a 1-1 draw at the Riazor stadium. The Galicians had climbed out of the drop zone last week after winning their last two games, and they went ahead close to half time when Mario turned the ball past his own keeper after Pablo Amo headed a long free kick across goal. But Uche (just back from the African Nations Cup) came on to score the equaliser, picking up the ball on the right of the area and firing a shot past Fabricio. (09.02.08)