Sevilla kept up the pressure on the top two with a 0-1 victory at Sporting Gijón in the last match on Sunday. Palop had to keep out Miguel early on, but soon afterwards Jesús Navas and Kanouté put together a quick passing move which the striker finished off to open the scoring. Navas had an effort cleared off the line by Gregory, and Zokora and Negredo both went close either side of half time as the Andalusians dominated the game. Sporting came close to saving a point though when Barral shot wide near the end.
Mallorca are up to fifth spot after beating Osasuna 0-1 earlier in the day, the first time the Islanders have ever won in Pamplona. Both sides had chances in the first half, keepers Ricardo and Aouate saving from Chori Castro and Jorge Galán respectively. Masoud, Aduríz and Ramis all headed wide after the restart, but on the hour mark Castro chased down a long clearance from Webó to round Oier and curl a shot in to the top corner of the net.
Deportivo drop a place to sixth after a 1-1 draw at Almería, a result which put local coach Hugo Sánchez's job at risk. Juan Rodríguez and Antonio Tomás both hit the bar for the visitors before the break, but a few minutes in to the second half Kalu Uche got on the end of Michel's long cross to head past Aranzubia. Pablo Alvarez headed the equaliser though a few minutes later after Valerón headed on Manuel Pablo's cross, and Uche was unable to convert a couple of late chances which would have given his side the three points.
Getafe moved up to eighth place after a 2-1 win over Tenerife. The Canary Islanders started well, Richi having a goal disallowed and Nino heading against the post. But Albín opened the scoring late in the second half after Pedro León's corner came back off the crossbar, and the Uruguayan midfielder made it two midway through the second half after Pablo Sicilia gave the ball away. Juanlu scrambled one back late on after a misunderstanding between Codina and Cata Díaz, but it was another defeat for the visitors, who have only picked up one point away from home.
Villarreal consolidated their recent recovery with a 1-2 victory at Atlético Madrid, and they are now up in to the top half of the table. Simao put the home side ahead after running on to a long pass from Reyes ten minutes before the break. But David Fuster headed the equaliser just a couple of minutes after the interval from Capdevila's cross, and with the game coming to an end Llorente squeezed past the defence to head Escudero's centre past Sergio Asenjo.
Racing Santander are also improving under new coach Miguel Angel Portugal, and they beat bottom club Xerez 3-2 to move out of the relegation spots above Zaragoza. Bermejo headed the visitors in to the lead after Momo's attempted shot bounced over to him, but Lacen equalised before half time, and Arana put the Cantabrians in front with a long cross-come-shot soon after the restart. Antoñito levelled the scores once again against his old club, but Xisco headed in a Munitis cross with eight minutes to go for his team's second win in a row.
Racing are now level with four clubs including Valladolid, who were held to a 1-1 draw at home by struggling Málaga. Fernando hit the bar for the visitors before Duda gave them the lead from Manolo Gaspar's cross, and Obinna missed a couple of chances to put them further ahead before half time. But Nivaldo saved a point with a header from a corner which would probably have gone wide had Jesús Gámez not deflected it in to his own net. (13.12.09)
Leaders Barcelona extended their unbeaten run in the league this season to 16 games after beating neighbours Espanyol 1-0 on Saturday evening. The visitors came in to the match on the back of four defeats in a row, but they put up a battling performance, and only lost thanks to a controversial penalty which Ibrahimovic converted after Xavi fell in the area following a pull on his shirt by Raúl Baena. After the break the best chances fell to Espanyol, but they were unable to beat a confident Víctor Valdés.
Real Madrid stay five points behind the leaders with a game in hand after a 2-3 victory over third placed Valencia. All the goals came after the break, Higuaín heading the visitors in to the lead from Benzema's cross before Villa got on the end of Matieu's centre to equalise. Higuaín restored the lead after Marcelo set him up, and although Joaquín levelled the scores once again, substitute Garay headed Xabi Alonso's long free kick past César for the winner.
Earlier in the evening Zaragoza lost 1-2 to Athletic Bilbao, a result which cost the job of manager Marcelino. Second half substitute Muniain made the difference, crossing in for San José to head the first and then passing through for Susaeta to make it two. Diogo got a last minute consolation for the home side, but it came too late to save his coach, who was fired shortly after the match finished. B team boss José Aurelio Gay takes over for the time being. (12.12.09)