Valencia's impressive season continues, and they are now only three points behind Real Madrid after beating neighbours Villarreal 4-1 on Sunday. With only six minutes on the clock David Silva set up Banega to open the scoring, and Villa made it two from the penalty spot after youngster Kiko was sent off for bringing down the striker. Silva scored the third early in the second half after a bad clearance by Capdevila from Mattieu's cross, and although Nilmar got one back after a misunderstanding between Alexis and César, Villa rounded things off with a fourth goal in injury time.
Mallorca are back up to fourth after they beat Deportivo 2-0 earlier in the evening, an eleventh straight home win in all competitions this season. Julio Alvarez hit the post as Manzano's side dominated the first half, and a minute after the restart Mario Suárez put them ahead after Martí played the ball back in to the area following a corner. Six minutes later Chori Castro picked up Aouate's long clearance and left Manuel Pablo for dead before shooting under the legs of Aranzubia, and it was game over.
Atlético Madrid are getting their season back on track, and they moved up to within a point of Sporting Gijón after beating the Asturians 3-2. Forlán scored the first in the thirteenth minute after picking up a pass from Simao, and although Diego Castro equalised from the penalty spot after Asenjo brought him down, Paulo Assunçao restored the lead early in the second half. Forlán limped off with an injury soon afterwards, but his replacement Ibrahima made it three after Juan Pablo could only block Agüero's shot. Agüero hit the bar later on, but as usual the local fans had to suffer after Luis Morán scored a second for Sporting in the dying minutes.
Getafe stay three points off the European places after a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Málaga. The Madrid based side had knocked their opponents out of the cup midweek, but they were up against it when Boateng was sent off for a second bookable offence with only half an hour gone. Apoño hit the post with a free kick, but although both keepers had a busy night, the game appeared to be heading for a score-less draw until Baha flung himself forward to head Jesús Gámez's cross past Codina near the end.
Málaga move out of the relegation spots ahead of Tenerife, who were unable to hold on to an early lead at Almería. Juanlu put the Canary Islanders ahead in only the second minute after Diego Alves pushed out a shot from Kome, but Goitom made it 1-1 after the restart after Soriano put him through. The locals ended with ten men after Piatti picked up a second yellow card shortly before the final whistle.
Valladolid stay a point ahead of Tenerife after they drew 1-1 at Racing Santander. The visitors went ahead when Pinillos deflected Medunjanin's corner past his own keeper in the twentieth minute. But the latest 18 year old sensation Canales saved a point with the goal of the night, pulling down a pass from Munitis before lobbing the ball over Justo Villar on the hour mark.
Bottom two Zaragoza and Xerez did themselves no favours after drawing 0-0 in the Romareda stadium. José Aurelio Gay included all three of his new signings in the starting line up, but although Eliseu hit the post with a first half free kick, neither team could break down the opposing defence. The visitors were left with ten men when Víctor Sánchez was sent off for a tackle on Eliseu, and Jorge López wasted a good chance to win it for the home side near the end. (17.01.10)
Barcelona took their revenge for their midweek elimination from the cup, a 4-0 win over a depleted Sevilla taking them five points clear at the top of the table. All the goals came after the break, the first scored by the visitors themselves when Escudé deflected a shot from Piqué in to his own net. Palop was once again on great form, but he was beaten for a second time when substitute Pedro ran on to a defence splitting pass from Xavi to lift the ball over the advancing keeper. After that Messi took over to deliver the killer blows, collecting a lobbed pass from Alves to score his 100th goal in a Barcelona shirt, and then running on to Abidal's pass to clip the ball past Palop once again in injury time.
Guardiola's side are assured the honorary title of winter champions after Real Madrid lost 1-0 to Athletic Bilbao earlier in the evening. The locals came out strongly from the start, Gurpegui and Toquero both hitting the post before Llorente headed the opener from Yeste's corner with only three minutes gone. After that though Madrid felt themselves unlucky not to at least save a point, Benzema hitting the post shortly before half time and Cristian Ronaldo bringing a couple of good saves out of Iraizoz. Athletic ended with ten men when Gurpegui picked up a second booking in injury time, but the final whistle went seconds later.
Osasuna moved away from the danger zone after a 2-0 victory over Espanyol. The Pamplona based side had not won in five games, but Juanfran put them ahead in the seventh minute following a short corner, and only a minute later Pandiani headed the second from a Camuñas cross. Both sides were left with ten men after Rúper and then Roncaglia were sent off for second bookable offences either side of half time, and Espanyol's new signing Osvaldo came close to getting one back late on. (16.01.10)