First division - day 25
The gap at the top was closed to two points this weekend after Real Madrid lost 0-1 to city rivals Getafe in the last match on Sunday. It was a bitter blow for coach Bernd Schuster against his old side, especially as the goal came in strange circumstances in the second half of the match. Robben had just put the ball into the net, but with the local players celebrating what they thought was a goal they didn't see that the referee had signalled offside. Getafe took a quick free kick, and virtually unchallenged they ran up the other end where Uche turned a shot past Casillas. It was fourth defeat in five for Madrid, and the chase for the title is wide open again.
Earlier in the evening Barcelona had beaten bottom club Levante by 5-1, with Eto'o getting a hat-trick in the second half. Xavi opened the scoring with less than a quarter of an hour gone, but Riga equalised from the penalty spot after Zambrotta handled in the area. Messi restored the lead shortly before the break though after Xavi set him up, and then put Eto'o through twice in the first quarter of an hour of the second half to put the result beyond Levante's reach. Eto'o got his third from Bojan's pass with three minutes to go.
Villarreal consolidated third place after coming from behind to beat Athletic Bilbao 1-2. Llorente put the Basque side in front when he turned in Susaeta's cross in only the fourth minute. But Guille Franco controlled Angel's cross to beat Armando midway through the second half, and Capdevila struck home the winner with eight minutes to go.
Atlético Madrid are still fourth despite a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Osasuna, albeit that they are now only two points clear of Sevilla and Espanyol. With only five minutes on the clock the locals were two up, Carlos Vela setting up Kike Sola for the first and then getting the second himself after picking up a pass from Plasil. Forlán got one back with a thunderous shot from outside of the area, but Héctor Font wrapped things up from Sola's pass a quarter of an hour from the end.
Racing Santander moved back up to seventh after a 1-0 victory over Almería, putting an end to the visitors' run of eight games without defeat. Tchité got the onlt goal after running on to a Pablo Alvarez pass on the hour mark, and Unai Emery's side ended with nine men after Cisma and Paunovic were sent off later on.
Murcia are deeper in trouble after losing 0-1 to Valladolid, and coach Lucas Alcaraz could be on his way out when the board meet later this week. His side have only picked up one point now from seven games, and they were beaten again thanks to a goal from Llorente four minutes before the break, the striker volleying a shot past Notario after Sesma headed back a cross from Borja.
Deportivo stay in the bottom three as well despite a 2-0 win over Espanyol. Both goals came in the first quarter of the match, Coloccini heading them into the lead from a Sergio corner, and Lafita running through to score the second soon afterwards. Dudu Aouate was back in goal for the Galicians, and he made a couple of good saves later on.
Only three points though separate Deportivo from twelfth placed Mallorca, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Betis. Varela got the first for the Balearic Islanders ten minutes in to the second half, but Edu levelled the scores with a header from Pavone's cross with twenty minutes to go. Mallorca have now drawn twelve of their 25 matches. (24.02.08)
Sevilla bounced back from their midweek Champions League defeat to thrash Zaragoza 5-0 on Saturday night. Luis Fabiano combined with Daniel Alves to score two in five minutes midway through the first half, and they could have scored more before Ayala and then Diogo both put through their own net either side of half time. Diogo was sent off early in the second half for a vicious tackle on Diego Capel, and Keita headed the fifth from an Alves free kick later on. The Andalusians move up to fifth, just two points outside the Champions League spots pending Sunday's results.
Valencia are now four points off the top six though after they could only draw 1-1 with Recreativo. Mata picked up a pass from Banega to open the scoring shortly before half time, but Martins equalised with a piledriver from outside of the area after the restart. Ronald Koeman's side wasted several chances to win the game after that though, Zigic in particular missing a couple of times later on. (23.02.08)