First division - day 18
Barcelona maintain their lead of twelve points at the top of the table after beating bottom club Osasuna 2-3. Eto'o opened the scoring for Guardiola's side on the stroke of half time after a good run by Messi, but Miguel Flaño equalised with a header from a corner, and Pandiani put the locals ahead when he turned in Juanfran's cross later in the second half. With ten minutes to go though Xavi made it all square again, and Messi struck the winner past Roberto soon afterwards to make it a record eight away wins in a row.
Real Madrid are back up to second, ahead of Sevilla on goal difference, after a 0-3 victory at Mallorca. Robben ran on to Higuaín's long pass to open the scoring in only the third minute, and Raúl got the second a few minutes later from Higuaín's cross to celebrate his 500th game in the league. And Sergio Ramos completed the scoreline after the break with a shot under the legs of Aouate to leave Gregorio Manzano's side further down in the drop zone.
Atlético Madrid are now four points of the Champions League spots after losing 2-3 to Athletic Bilbao, their third defeat in a row. Antonio López gave Aguirre's side the lead with a long shot which Ion Vélez could only head in to his own net, but Koikili equalised on the stroke of half time. And after the break Llorente fired a shot in off Domínguez and then turned in a Gabilondo cross to put the Basque side two up. Maniche was sent off soon afterwards, and Forlán's last minute strike came too late to change the result.
Málaga are up to eighth in the table after a last minute 1-2 win at regional neighbours Betis. Chaparró's side put up a good performance though after playing with nine men for much of the match, Melli getting sent off soon after Apoño had opened the scoring for the visitors from the penalty spot. Emanà equalised from a fierce free kick, but was then sent off himself after the break for a second bookable offence. The locals held on though until injury time, when Eliseu struck the winner past Ricardo.
Sporting Gijón moved above Valladolid to ninth after beating Mendilibar's side 2-1. The Asturians had beaten their opponents in the cup just a few days ago, and they went ahead when Barral set up Carmelo early on. Carmelo returned the favour a few minutes later for Barral to score, but their were some nervous moments for the home fans when García Calvo headed one back from Aguirre's free kick near the end.
Down in the lower reaches of the table, Espanyol stay in the relegation spots after drawing 2-2 with Almería. Kalu Uche scored twice at the beginning of the first and second halves to give Hugo Sánchez's side a two goal lead. But Román got one back on the hour mark, and in the fourth minute of injury time Nico Pareja saved a point, beating Diego Alves with a well struck free kick.
Recreativo stay two points clear of the drop zone after drawing 1-1 at Racing Santander. Jonathan Pereira put the Cantabrians ahead after running on to Oscar Serrano's through ball with just over half an hour gone. But before the break Camuñas won the ball of Luccin and ran through past two defenders to beat Toño and level the scores.
Numancia also distanced themselves from the bottom four after a 2-0 victory over Getafe. The game swung their way when Abbondanzieri was sent off in the third minute for bringing down Brit in the area, Barkero converting the resulting penalty. And ten minutes from the end Aranda got the second to take the Soria based side to within a point of their opponents in the table. (11.01.09)
Sevilla are back up to second in the table after coming from a goal down to beat Deportivo 1-3. Bodipo gave the Galicians the lead late in the first half, and when Maresca was sent off for a foul on the striker a couple of minutes later it seemed the locals were on their way to a win. But Kanouté came on at half time to set up Luis Fabiano and Renato, and with the game in injury time Diego Capel wrapped things up.
Later in the evening Valencia and Villarreal drew 3-3 in a thrilling local derby. Baraja and Villa put Emery's side two up with only ten minutes gone, but Fuentes headed one back on the stroke of half time and Llorente equalised after the restart. Edu restored the lead two minutes later, but a hotly disputed Rossi penalty saved a point for the visitors. (10.01.09)