First division - day 19
Back to business for Real Madrid after the midweek resignation of club president Ramón Calderón, Juande Ramos's side coming back from a goal down to beat Osasuna 3-1. Nekounam headed the visitors into a first half lead, but Sergio Ramos equalised with a long shot which keeper Roberto spilled in to his own net. Higuaín turned in Robben's cross for a second with just over an hour gone, and Robben made it three in the last minute. It could have been different though had referee Pérez Burrull not turned down two penalty appeals from Juanfran, who was sent off after being booked for diving each time.
Madrid are back up to second, level with Sevilla and four points clear of Valencia, who lost 3-2 to Athletic Bilbao. Villa put the Ches ahead in only the second minute, and although Gabilondo headed an equaliser, Morientes turned in Villa's cross to restore the lead a few minutes later. Javi Martínez made it all square again before the break with a header past substitute keeper Guaita, and with the game in injury time Llorente got the winner from the penalty spot after Manuel Fernandes was sent off for a foul on Martínez.
Fifth place Villarreal move up to within a point of Valencia after a 2-0 victory over Mallorca, who drop further down in to the relegation zone as a result. Both goals came in a four minute period around the half hour mark, Capdevila heading in Ibagaza's corner and Rossi converting a penalty after Ramis fouled Cazorla. Diego López had to make important saves though either side of half time to keep his side ahead.
Atlético Madrid hold on to sixth spot after drawing 1-1 at Almería in the last match on Sunday evening. Hugo Sánchez got the edge on his fellow countryman Javier Aguirre when Kalu Uche beat Leo Franco at the second attempt in the sixth minute. Sinama-Pongolle equalised for the visitors a quarter of an hour later, but the visitors could do no more even though their hosts had Pellerano sent off for a second bookable offence early in the second half.
For a couple of hours though Málaga were up in to the top six after a comfortable 4-0 win over Espanyol. Adrián opened the scoring before the interval and then won a penalty which Apoño converted after the restart. Baha added a second penalty later on, and Albert Luque finished things off with a fourth goal in injury time. Málaga's points tally of 31 is the best ever by a newly promoted side at the halfway stage of the season.
Espanyol stay in eighteenth spot, now five points away from safety after Recreativo beat Sporting Gijón 2-0. Jorge turned an Adrián Colunga cross in to his own net in the fifth minute, and Colunga got the second himself after connecting with a long punt from Iago Bouzón to turn the ball past Sergio Sánchez.
Betis got back to winning ways after five league games without a victory, beating Valladolid 1-3 to move to within two points of their opponents in the table. Sergio García set up Xisco to give the Andalusians the lead with a quarter of an hour on the clock. And although Luis Prieto headed in a Pedro Léon free kick to equalise, Sergio García took advantage of two bad back passes after the restart to win it for his side.
Valladolid have now lost four league games in a row, as have Getafe who were beaten 0-1 by Racing Santander. Once again it was Zigic who gave the Cantabrians the three points, the on-loan Valencia striker turning in Oscar Serrano's cross midway through the first half to take his side up to the top half of the table. (18.01.09)
Barcelona thrashed Deportivo 5-0 on Saturday evening to complete the first half of the season with a record 50 points. Messi ran through to open the scoring midway through the first half, and Henry headed the second from a Dani Alves cross a few minutes later. Eto'o made it three shortly before the break, and Guardiola's side could have scored more before Henry got the fourth with eight minutes to go. A couple of minutes later Aranzubia was sent off for bringing down Puyol, and Eto'o slotted the resulting penalty past makeshift keeper Juan Rodríguez to complete the rout.
Later in the evening Sevilla moved back up to second spot with a 1-0 win over Numancia. They struggled to do so however, even though the visitors played most of the second half with ten men after Cisma picked up a second booking. Debutant keeper Javi Varas was called on a number of times, although the locals gradually took control, and Renato picked up a cross from Jesús Navas to seal the victory eight minutes before the final whistle. (17.01.09)