First division - day 15
Barcelona stay eight points clear at the top after closest rivals Villarreal lost 1-0 at Sevilla on Sunday evening. Renato got the only goal on the stroke of half time after Kanouté touched on Adriano's headed pass ,and when Llorente was sent off for a second bookable offence early in the second half it was all over. The Andalusians move ahead of their opponents to third, level with Valencia on points.
Atlético Madrid are back in the Champions League race after a 2-0 victory over Betis, taking Aguirre's side above city rivals Real Madrid to within two points of Villarreal. Maxi controlled a long pass from Maniche on his chest before beating Casto to open the scoring in the twentieth minute, and Agüero wrapped things up after running on to Forlán's through ball near the end.
Seventh placed Deportivo lost ground on the leaders though after a 3-0 defeat against Valladolid, who move up to within a point of the Galicians in the table. Mendilibar's side were two up at the break, Sesma turning in a Pedro León cross and Pedro López collecting a long throw from Arzmendi on the half way line and lobbing a long shot back over the keeper. León got the third himself after the restart.
Getafe are now in ninth spot after a 4-1 victory over a Mallorca side who found themselves in the relegation spots at the end of the weekend. The Madrid based team went two up in the first half hour via a Contra penalty and a strike by Uche. And although Aduríz got one back before the break, Manu del Moral and Gavilán completed the rout in the second half.
Mallorca drop behind Espanyol on goal difference, and they are now only just ahead of Recreativo after the Andalusians beat relegation rivals Osasuna 1-0. Adrián Colunga ran on to a Javi Guerrero pass to score the only goal of the game seven minutes from the end, taking his side four points clear of José Antonio Camacho's team.
Athletic Bilbao climbed away from the danger zone after a 3-0 win over Sporting Gijón. Llorente won an early penalty which he himself converted, and Iraola and David lópez added two more with just over half an hour gone. The bad news was a last minute clash between Gurpegui and Cuéllar which left both in the local hospital.
Numancia find themselves back within a point of the relegation spots however after a 2-0 defeat at Málaga. Both goals came in the last ten minutes of the match, Apoño converting a hotly disputed penalty after Bellvis brought down on Eliseu on the edge of the area, and Baha making it two on a rapid counter-attack with the game coming to an end.
Curiously only one match this weekend didn't result in a home win, Almería and Racing Santander sharing the points in a 1-1 draw. Garay fired in a long free kick with half an hour on the clock to give the visitors the lead. But Acasiete volleyed home the equaliser after the restart, and the Cantabrians ended with ten men after Lacen was sent off late on. (07.12.08)
Late goals from Eto'o and Messi gave Barcelona 2-0 win over arch-rivals Real Madrid in this weekend's big "derby" game. With Juande Ramos newly in charge, the visitors gave as good as they got in the first half. But with twenty minutes to go the home side were awarded a penalty when Busquets was brought down in the area by Michel Salgado. Casillas saved Eto'o's spot kick, but the striker got his revenge ten minutes later, turning the ball in from close up after Puyol headed in Xavi's corner. And with the game already in injury time, Henry and Messi broke free for the latter to pick up the former's pass and chip a shot over Casillas to wrap things up.
Pep Guardiola's team are now eight points clear of Valencia, who moved up to second spot after coming from behind to beat Espanyol 2-1. Román Martínez put the Catalans ahead on the half hour mark, picking up the ball in midfield and running on to fire in a shot which took a slight deflection off Raúl Albiol. A rigorous second yellow card after the ball struck Rufete on the arm though left Mané's side with ten men, and second half goals from Albiol and Vicente turned the scoreline around. (13.12.08)