First division - day 23
Real Madrid pegged back two points on leaders Barcelona after beating Sporting Gijón 0-4 on Sunday evening. Raúl started things off, connecting with Sergio Ramos's cross to score his 308th goal for the club, taking him past Di Stéfano's old record. Later in the first half Huntelaar netted his first since his winter signing, and Marcelo made it three soon after the restart, both from Higuaín assists. And with a quarter of an hour to go Raúl scored again after Lafuente spilled Higuaín's shot in to his path to take his side to within ten points of their arch rivals.
Sevilla are back up to third after a late 0-2 victory at Espanyol. Coro missed the easiest of chances after the interval to put the Catalans ahead, but a couple of minutes later things went against them when Lola was sent off for a second bookable offence. And the visitors took advantage to score twice late on, Kanouté connecting with two crosses from Jesús Navas to leave Pochettino's side at the foot of the table.
Villarreal stay in fifth spot after a 1-1 draw at Racing Santander, a true-to-form result given that the locals hadn't won in the Sardinero stadium for around three months, and the visitors hadn't clocked up an away victory for ten weeks. Zigic headed the Cantabrians in front from Serrano's cross midway through the first half, but Cazorla equalised following a corner shortly before half time.
Atlético Madrid had a chance of making it up to the Champions League spots when they started the last match of the weekend against city neighbours Getafe, but in the end they had to make do with sixth after a 1-1 draw. Diego Forlán connected with a Seitaridis cross to open the scoring with just over half an hour on the clock. But despite missing a late penalty, Albín saved a point for his side when he headed past Leo Franco after Uche played the ball across in the last minute.
An extraordinary game at Almería, where the locals came back to beat Valladolid 3-2 with nine men. A Pedro León free kick and a strike from Goitom put the visitors two up at the interval. Crusat and Kalu Uche made it all square after the restart, but Bruno and then Uche were sent off with straight reds. Negredo took advantage of a mistake by keeper Villar to score the winner though, and the visitors themselves had Nano red-carded near the end.
Almería close to within three points of their opponents, and Athletic Bilbao are also level with Mendilibar's side after a 1-1 draw with Recreativo. Aitor gave the Andalusians the lead after Camuñas set him up with half an hour gone, and they were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty soon after the restart when Iraizoz brought down Colunga. The Basque team saved a point though when Toquero and Javi Martínez both got their heads to a Gabilondo free kick, the midfielder being awarded the goal by the referee.
The draw keeps Recre four points above the bottom three, ahead of Osasuna and Mallorca, who beat relegation rivals Numancia 0-1. Aduríz got the only goal of the match midway through the first half after latching on to Arango's cross, but the locals were unfortunate not to save a point after Aranda and Del Pino both rattled the woodwork after the break. (15.02.09)
Barcelona were held to a 2-2 draw by Betis on Saturday evening, ending their run of ten wins in a row in the league. In the end they were grateful for a point though after going two down to goals from Melli and Mark González midway through the first half. Eto'o got one back on the stroke of half time though, following up after his penalty kick was saved by Ricardo, and the striker got his second of the night near the end.
Points were shared all round though on Saturday, with Valencia and Málaga cancelling each other out in a 1-1 draw. David Villa gave Unai Emery's side the lead early in the second half, but scores were levelled six minutes later when Raúl Albiol turned Eliseu's cross in to his own net. The result takes the locals up to third and the visitors to sixth pending Sunday's games.
And the match between Deportivo and Osasuna ended without goals, a result which neither side really wanted. A victory could have taken the Galicians up to the UEFA Cup spots, and they dominated the game from start to finish. Roberto and his defence held fast though for a point which keeps them just above the drop zone for the time being. (14.02.09)