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Match round-up - First Division Day 31

Valencia kept up their push for a place in the Champions League spots with a 3-1 victory over Sevilla on Sunday evening. The Andalusians took an early lead when Escudé headed in a corner, but they were left with ten men when Adriano was sent off, and Villa equalised from the penalty spot after Escudé fouled Mata on the stroke of half time. Mata converted a second penalty after Navarro handled in the area later in the second half, and Pablo Hernández got the third in injury time to take his side to within five points of their opponents.

Villarreal's season is starting to fall apart though, and after their mid-week elimination from the Champions League, they were held to a 0-0 draw at Valladolid on Sunday. Pellegrini's side had the best chance to take the lead when referee Pérez Burrull awarded them a penalty and sent off Iñaki Bea for a foul on Llorente on the hour mark, but Rossi drove the spot kick over the bar. Villarreal ended the weekend in sixth spot having only picked up one point in three games.

The three remaining games involved sides who are still involved in the relegation battle, with eleven clubs still not safe. Espanyol moved off the bottom of the table with a 1-0 victory over Racing Santander, and they are now only five points away from escaping the drop zone. Iván Alonso headed the only goal for the locals from Nené's long free kick early in the second half.

Betis moved further away from the danger zone though after beating Sporting Gijón 2-0, a second win in a row under new coach José María Nogués. Emaná was once again the man who did the damage, scoring the two goals following assists from Oliveira in the second half. Both sides ended with ten men after Cuéllar and Arzu were sent off, and the Asturians are now only three points above the relegation spots.

Almería moved up level with Betis after a last minute 2-1 victory over Osasuna. Negredo opened the scoring in the second half following a corner, but Pandiani headed the equaliser a few minutes later. Negredo got his second of the evening though right at the end to take his side above their opponents in the table. (19.04.09)

Status quo at the top of the table after Barcelona and Real Madrid both won by a single goal away from home. Barcelona beat Getafe 0-1, with Messi getting the only goal shortly before half time. It could have been a bigger victory though, with keeper Stojkovic making a string of saves, Messi having a goal disallowed and Eto'o hitting the post.

Real Madrid also won 0-1 at Recreativo later in the evening to maintain the six point gap behind the leaders. Both keepers pulled off good saves early on and Raúl hit the post shortly before the break. But four minutes after the restart Marcelo picked up a long pass from Gago to run on and beat Riesgo, and Robben missed a couple of chances to extend the lead later on.

Atlético Madrid moved up to fourth pending Sunday's games after beating Numancia 3-0. The visitors held on until the hour mark when Banega cut past his marker to score, and Barkero had a goal ruled out for a non-existent offside before Forlán got the second. Simao wrapped things up though right at the end.

Málaga missed out on a chance to return to the European spots when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Mallorca. Apoño thumped home a spectacular volley to give the Andalusians the lead soon after the restart, but Arango equalised with a well struck free kick a few minutes later.

Deportivo closed to within a point of Málaga after a 0-1 victory at Athletic Bilbao. The Basque side needed points to move clear of the danger zone, and they had the better chances throughout. But they were unable to beat Aranzubia, and Pablo Alvarez struck the winner for the visitors near the end. (18.04.09)