First division - day 27
Real Madrid once again have an eight point lead over their nearest rivals after Barcelona lost 1-2 to third placed Villarreal on Sunday evening. Frank Rijkaard's side went behind on the half hour mark when Marcos Senna converted a penalty after Valdés brought down Guille Franco in the area. Xavi levelled the scores midway through the second half after Iniesta crossed in from the left, but Tomasson got the winner near the end after Cazorla and Eguren combined to set him up. Villarreal move to within four points of their opponents in the table.
Racing Santander are having the best season in their history, and they moved up to fifth, level on points with Atlético Madrid, after beating Betis 3-0. The turning point came early in the second half when Melli was sent off for a foul on Tchité, and from the resulting free kick Duscher scored after Ricardo could only push out Garay's shot. Ten minutes later Garay got the second after the keeper failed to hold on to Tchité's header, and Tchité himself wrapped things up with the third near the end.
Sevilla moved above Espanyol to sixth after a 2-1 win over bottom club Levante, putting behind them their midweek elimination from the Champions League. They made hard work of it though, Riga putting the Valencia based side ahead in the fourth minute after catching Palop off his line with a long shot. Keita headed the equaliser though from a Jesús Navas cross later in the first half, and Luis Fabiano got the winner from another Navas cross a couple of minutes after the interval.
Valencia slipped further away from the European places after they were held to a 2-2 draw by Deportivo in Mestalla. Within twenty minutes Ronald Koeman's side were two up, Mata getting the first after Aouate saved an Arizmendi header, and David Villa making it two from Arizmendi's cross. But Sergio got one back with a long shot over the head of Hildebrand, and Lafita equalised on the stroke of half time, turning Wilhelmsson's cross in off the bar.
Almería stay in eighth spot despite a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Osasuna. All the goals came in the first half hour, Kike Sola starting things off after picking up a pass from Puñal to round Diego Alves. Corona equalised with a header from López Rekarte's cross, but Cruchaga restored the lead with another header from Monreal's long free kick. It was Osasuna's fourth home win in a row, and they move four points clear of the drop zone.
Getafe are just a point behind Almería after a 0-3 victory at struggling Murcia. Pablo Hernández opened the scoring ten minutes in to the second half with a carbon copy of the goal he got midweek against Benfica, and Albín and Casquero added two more in the last seven minutes. It was a bad start for Murcia's new coach Javier Clemente, who took over from Lucas Alcaraz midweek, and his side drop further into the relegation zone after only picking up one point in nine games.
The result of the night though was surely Mallorca's 7-1 victory over Recreativo. Güiza set up Arango for the opener with just over fifteen minutes on the clock, and scored two more himself in the next quarter of an hour. Borja Valero made it four from Ibagaza's cross, and although Marco Rubén headed one back, Valero got his second of the evening before the break. And Arango completed his hat-trick with two more in the first five minutes of the second half to record Mallorca's biggest tally ever in the top flight.
Recreativo stay down in the relegation spots, two points behind Valladolid, who lost 2-0 at Athletic Bilbao. Gabilondo got both the goals for the Basque side, the first a header from Llorente's cross in the fifth minute. The visitors were left with ten men when Pedro López was sent off for a foul on Aduriz soon after the restart, and Gabilondo got his second a few minutes later after Sergio Asenjo dropped a high cross at his feet. (09.03.08)
Real Madrid opened the gap at the top to eight points pending Barcelona's game on Sunday after beating fifth placed Espanyol 2-1. They had to come from behind to do so though, Valdo heading the Catalans into the lead on the half hour mark from Luis García's cross. Higuaín got on the end of a centre from Marcelo to equalise before the break though, and Raúl got the winner from the penalty spot later in the second half after he was pulled down by Jarque inside the area, his 200th league goal for the club. After the final whistle Tamudo and Kameni were both shown red cards by the referee for protesting.
Espanyol stay just two points behind Atlético Madrid though after Javier Aguirre's side were beaten 2-1 by Zaragoza. Simao put the visitors ahead midway through the first half, curling a shot wide of César, but ten minutes later the scores were level when Pablo sliced a wide Gabi free kick into his own net. And Diego Milito got the winner from the penalty spot after Sergio García was fouled by Simao with twenty minutes to go. It was a good start for Zaragoza's new coach Manolo Villanova, who took over midweek after Irureta resigned, and his side move up five places in the table to twelfth. (08.03.08)