First division - day 20
Real Madrid consolidated second spot with a 1-0 victory over Deportivo on Sunday evening, the result keeping them twelve points behind leaders Barcelona. Raúl scored the only goal of the match, heading a cross from Lass past Munúa shortly before the break. Filipe hit the bar and Casillas had to save from Valerón and Lafita after the break, but Robben could have increased the lead near the end.
Madrid move three points clear of Sevilla, who were beaten 0-2 by Racing Santander earlier in the evening. César Navas opened the scoring midway through the first half after Palop could only push out Zigic's header from a Munitis free kick. The Cantabrians were left with ten men soon afterwards when Oscar Serrano was sent off for bringing down Adriano, but Zigic turned in another Munitis free kick after the break to make it three away wins in a row.
Fourth placed Valencia were beaten 3-1 by a Mallorca side who started the day at the bottom of the table. Jurado started things off early on after Guaita failed to hold on to Varela's long shot. And the midfielder had a hand in the next two goals, provoking a penalty which Martí converted, and then scoring another himself before the break. Vicente scored a consolation goal for the visitors later on.
Málaga and Atlético Madrid ended the day as they started, level on points in sixth and seventh place, after drawing 1-1 in the Rosaleda stadium. Apoño put the locals ahead midway through the first half with a long shot which took a deflection off the back of Pablo Assunçao, but Heitinga got on the end of an Antonio López free kick to equalise on the stroke of half time.
Athletic Bilbao had other things on their minds, and Joaquín Caparrós made eight changes against Almería in preparation for Wednesday's cup tie. By half time they were two down though to goals by Juanma Ortíz and Kalu Uche, and although Del Olmo made it 2-1 after the break they were unable to prevent a first defeat in eight league games.
Athletic's opponents in the cup are Sporting Gijón, and they too were beaten 5-1 by Getafe. Soldado came on for the injured Manu del Moral early on and took full advantage, netting a hat-trick including a late penalty. Granero and Uche got their other goals for Víctor Muñoz's side, with Barral replying for the Asturians shortly before the break.
Espanyol's new coach Pochettino appears to be getting results, and after the 0-0 cup draw against Barcelona, his side took a point in a 1-1 draw at Valladolid. Goitom put the locals ahead a few minutes before the interval, but Sergio Sánchez made it all square with a header from Luis García's corner twelve minutes from the end.
The battle to avoid the drop zone looks like being a long one though, and Betis were dragged back in to it after a 1-0 defeat at Recreativo. Camuñas headed the only goal from a cross by new signing Maidana just three minutes after he came on to make his debut, giving his side a fourth successive home win and taking them two points above their regional rivals. (25.01.09)
Barcelona got their revenge only the only team to beat them in the league this season, a 4-1 victory over Numancia taking them fifteen points clear of the pack pending Sunday's games. All the goals came after the break, with Messi and Eto'o putting them two up soon after the restart. Barkero got one back with a well struck free kick, but Henry restored the two goal cushion and Messi got his second of the night to complete the scoreline.
Earlier in the evening Osasuna got the second half of the season off to a good start with a 1-1 draw at Villarreal. Rossi picked up a pass from Cazorla to open the scoring for the locals on the half hour mark, but a mistake by Cygan after the break allowed Dady to equalise. Villarreal stay in fifth spot as a result, and Camacho's side move off the bottom of the table, above Mallorca on goal difference. (24.01.09)