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Match round-up - First Division Day 26

Sevilla bounced back from their midweek cup defeat with a 2-1 win over regional rivals Almería on Sunday evening. Kanouté opened the scoring in only the fifth minute after picking up a cross from Romaric, and Renato added a second rather fortunately on the hour mark after his mis-kick looped in to the net. Negredo got one back from the penalty spot a few minutes later, but the locals held on to strengthen their hold on third place.

It was another high scoring weekend though, and nowhere more so than in La Coruña, where Deportivo beat Racing Santander 5-3. Jonathan Pereira put the Cantabrians ahead with only twenty seconds on the clock, and although Juan Rodríguez equalised, Zigic restored the lead before the break. Two from Riki and two more from Lafita and Verdú in the first twenty minutes or so after the restart wrapped things up though, with Berrocal completing the scoreline later on.

Deportivo move up to sixth, just behind Málaga who return to the UEFA Cup spots after a 1-2 victory in a bad-tempered match at Getafe. Eliseu turned in Duda's cross on the half hour mark, and Baha made it two on the stroke of half time. Cuadrado was sent off for a second bookable offence with a quarter of an hour to go, and Contra got one back from the resulting free kick. Numbers were evened up at the end though when soldado was also red-carded.

Valencia's woes continued, and Unai Emery's side dropped out of the European spots after a 2-1 defeat at bottom club Numancia. Vicente gave the Ches an early lead with a long shot which Juan Pablo let slip through his hands in to the net. But an acrobatic strike from Aranda made it all square shortly before the interval, and Barkero blasted a free kick through a gap in the defensive wall after the restart to give his side their first win in two months.

Valladolid appear to be sure of another season in the top flight after a 2-3 win at Recreativo. Jonathan Sesma put them ahead with a long lob early on, and Goitom turned in a corner for the second a few minutes later. Colunga pulled one back from the penalty spot, but Goitom got his second of the night before being sent off early in the second half. Camuñas headed in a second for the locals, and the visitors were left with nine men when Rubio was also sent off, but the game ended soon afterwards.

Recre ended the weekend just a point above Mallorca and Betis, who cancelled each other out in a thrilling 3-3 draw. The Andalusians went two up before the break with strikes by Mark González and Mehmet Aurelio, and they seemed to be running away with the three points when Arzu headed a third soon after the restart. But Chori Castro came on to score twice, with Webó getting one in between, for one of the comebacks of the season.

Mallorca, Betis and Getafe are now three points above the drop zone after Osasuna lost 1-2 to Sporting Gijón. A victory would have taken Camacho's team above their opponents in the table, but two spectacular goals from Barral and Diego Castro gave the Asturians a two goal lead with less than twenty minutes gone. Nekounam reduced the gap from the penalty spot a few minutes later, but the visitors held on to end a run of four defeats in a row. (08.03.09)

Barcelona's lead at the top of the table is back up to six points after a 2-0 win over fellow cup-finalists Athletic Bilbao. Yeste missed an early chance before Sergio Busquets headed the hosts in to the lead from Xavi's free kick with just over a quarter of an hour gone. And Messi got the second from the penalty spot later in the first half after Gurpegui brought down Iniesta. It could have been more though, as Iniesta and Eto'o hit the woodwork after the restart.

Second placed Real Madrid though saw their run of ten league victories in a row come to end after they were held to a 1-1 draw by city rivals Atlético Madrid. The visitors went ahead when Forlán beat Casillas after a rapid breakaway close to half time. Huntelaar equalised soon after the restart, but in the end they were grateful for a point after Forlán hit the post and his colleagues missed several chances later on.

Villarreal consolidate fourth spot after a 1-0 victory over struggling Espanyol. Fuentes got the only goal midway through the first half, heading in an Ibagaza corner. But otherwise they had Diego López to thank for the three points, the keeper making several important saves to thwart the Catalan side, who also missed a penalty in the second half when Luis García drove his kick against the bar. (07.03.09)