First division - day 28
Late news: The disciplinary committee ruled that the result between Betis and Athletic Bilbao would stay at 1-2 to the Basque side, and that the remaining minutes of the abandoned match (see below) would not be played out. Betis's ground will be closed for the next two games, a lighter sentence than usual as the person who threw the bottle which hit Armando was detained by the crowd and handed over to police on the spot. The Andalusian club are expected to appeal however, so the result can still not be considered as definitive. (18.03.08)
Barcelona failed to take advantage of Real Madrid's slip the day before, Frank Rijkaard's side being held to a 2-2 draw at Almería. Bojan put the visitors ahead with just over a quarter of an hour gone after Alves could only push out Iniesta's shot, but Pulido headed the equaliser from Corona's corner later in the first half. Eto'o restored the lead after Henry set him up soon after the restart, but Barça were left with ten men after Milito was sent off for a second bookable offence, and Kalu Uche made it all square again with another header from a Corona corner four minutes from the end.
Villarreal moved up to within two points of the Catalans after a 2-0 victory over Zaragoza. Nihat opened the scoring for the locals in the tenth minute after controlling a long pass from Marcos Senna, but after that they suffered, Oliveira in particular hitting the post and wasting a couple more chances after the break. Substitute Rossi made it two though from the penalty spot after Paredes brought down Capdevila twenty minutes in to the second half, and they held on to extend their unbeaten record in the league to seven games.
Atlético Madrid regained fourth spot after a comfortable 3-0 win over bottom club Levante late in the evening. Simao started things off, guiding a header past Kujovic after Agüero's shot was blocked midway through the first half. And Diego Forlán added two more either side of half time, the first after connecting with a cross from Simao and the second after Kujovic parried another shot from Agüero.
Espanyol are back into the European places after coming from behind to beat Mallorca 2-1. Güiza picked up a headed pass from Arango to beat Lafuente with just over ten minutes gone. But ex Mallorca striker Luis García turned things around in the second half, beating Moyà from the penalty spot after he was brought down by Héctor, and heading the winner from Angel Martínez's long centre with just two minutes remaining.
Racing Santander drop down to seventh though after they were beaten 2-1 by Getafe. The two sides meet again in their cup semi-final next Wednesday, and visiting coach Marcelino made nine changes to his line up in preparation. All the goals came after the break, Smolarek heading the Cantabrians in front but Uche and Gavilán scoring for the locals later on to give them the three points. Visiting keeper Toño and local striker Braulio were sent off after the last goal for fighting, and central defender Marcano had to play in goal for the last quarter of an hour.
Elsewhere Valladolid and Osasuna drew 0-0, a result which took the home side back out of the relegation spots to the detriment of Recreativo. The visitors felt themselves unlucky not to come away with more though after Cruchaga and Kike Sola both hit the crossbar. The Pamplona based side stay above their opponents in the table, but things are really tight at the bottom, with only two points separating eight teams pending the result of the match between Betis and Athletic Bilbao. (16.03.08)
Another twist in this topsy-turvy league, leaders Real Madrid losing by 1-0 to Deportivo on Saturday night. Bernd Schuster surprised everyone including Soldado and Drenthe in his starting line up, but his side hardly managed a shot on target all night. The only goal of the match came early in the second half when Pepe deflected a cross fro Felipe into his own net, but the Galicians could have won by a bigger margin had they converted chances late on. Madrid have not won though in the Riazor stadium for 17 years, and Barcelona now have a chance to close the gap on Sunday.
Sevilla moved up into the Champions League spots after a 1-2 win at Valencia later in the evening. La Liga's top scorer Luis Fabiano scored twice in the first quarter of the match, opening the scoring with a well struck free kick and then deflecting a shot from Keita past Hildebrand. Raúl Albiol did get one back for Ronald Koeman's side in the last minute after Edu played back Joaquín's corner, but it came too late to change the result.
Drama at the Ruïz de Lopera stadium, where the match between hosts Betis and Athletic Bilbao was suspended with twenty minutes to go after visiting keeper Armando was felled by a bottle thrown from the crowd. Yeste put the Basque side ahead early on, and although Mark González equalised before the break, David López restored the lead for Athletic from the penalty spot after Exteberría was brought down by Juanito. The disciplinary committee meets this week to decide the outcome.
Recreativo moved out of the relegation spots after a 4-2 victory over fellow strugglers Murcia. De Lucas put Javier Clemente's side ahead on the quarter hour mark, but Sinama-Pongolle equalised a couple of minutes later, and the French striker set up Marco Rubén and then scored his second of the night after the restart. Iván Alonso pulled one back from the penalty spot after he was brought down by Cáceres, but Marquitos wrapped things up with a well taken fourth goal a couple of minutes from the end. (15.03.08)