Mallorca are back up to fourth in the table after a 1-0 victory over Villarreal on Sunday evening. The visitors were under new management after B team coach Juan Carlos Garrido took over from Valverde midweek, and they had the better of the match, Godín heading a corner wide early on and Llorente failing to convert two or three chances either side of half time. But with ten minutes to go Nunes got above the defence to head a Julio Alvarez free kick past Diego López, and Mallorca had their tenth league home win in a row.
Mallorca go a point above Sevilla, who were defeated 2-1 by Zaragoza later in the evening. With a cup semi-final on the horizon Manolo Jiménez put out a weakened side, and they went behind when new signing Contini beat Palop following a corner on the half hour mark. Kanouté equalised just two minutes later after Cala's header came back off the bar, but the locals restored the lead when Negredo headed an Eliseu free kick in to his own net just before half time. The unfortunate Negredo was sent off with ten minutes to go after a tussle with Contini, and he was followed down the tunnel by Stankevicius and Colunga.
Deportivo stay in sixth spot in the table after a 0-0 draw at Málaga. The home side dominated the first half, with Aranzubia having to save from Fernando, Benachour and Duda, and Depor's only real reply came when Iván González almost put through his own net. The Galicians were left with ten men shortly before the break after Pablo Alvarez picked up two rigorous bookings, but although Duda hit the post after the restart, the visitors held on for a valuable point.
Athletic Bilbao are just two points behind Depor after a 3-2 win over bottom club Xerez. Muniain headed the Basque side in to the lead in only the second minute, but Moreno equalised with an impressive volley, and Bermejo put the visitors ahead after Calvo set him up five minutes before the break. Fernando Llorente connected with two Susaeta crosses to beat Renan twice and single-handedly turn the scoreline around in the second half though, leaving the Andalusians nine points away from safety.
Osasuna are in ninth place after a 1-0 victory over Tenerife, their fourth home win in a row. Visiting keeper Sergio Aragoneses kept the Canary Islanders in the game with saves from Camuñas and Pandiani early on, but he could do nothing to stop Aranda from picking up a Camuñas pass to roll the ball in to the net a couple of minutes after the interval. Mikel Alonso had a goal ruled out for offside after that, but Tenerife stay in next to bottom spot having only picked up two points away from home all season.
Almería climbed away from the danger zone in an incident packed 3-1 win over Sporting Gijón. Diego Castro put the visitors ahead in the twelfth minute after Chico was sent off for stopping Rivera's shot on the line with his hands, but Crusat ran on to Bernadello's pass to equalise three minutes later. Shortly before the break Juan Pablo incomprehensively allowed a long Cisma free kick to bounce past him in to the net, and after Barral was sent off for elbowing Juanma, Guilherme ean on to make it three. Sporting ended with nine men after Gregory was also red-carded for arguing with a ball-boy.
The last match of the day paired together Racing Santander and Atlético Madrid right in the middle of their two-leg cup semi-final, and this time honours were shared in a 1-1 draw. Diego Forlán opened the scoring for the visitors after running on to Simao's long ball to beat Coltorti, but Colsa equalised a few minutes later after blocking Perea's attempted clearance and firing a shot past De Gea. The visiting keeper was lucky not to be sent off after the break though when he brought down Tchité, Perea clearing the striker's shot off the line. (07.02.10)
Leaders Barcelona kept up their unbeaten league record with a 2-1 win over Getafe, although they had to do it with ten men after Piqué was sent off for a hard tackle on Rafa midway through the first half. Messi opened the scoring in the fifth minute after Touré Yaya played a corner back out to him, and Ibrahimovic could have added to lead when Rafa cleared his shot off the line shortly before the break. Miku and Soldado tested Valdés either side of half time, but Keita should have scored when he shot wide with the goal at his mercy after the restart, and a few minutes later Xavi picked up a pass from Messi to make it two. Soldado got one back from the penalty spot in injury time after Márquez was sent off for pushing over Kepa, but it was too late to change the result.
Real Madrid are keeping up the pace though, and they stay five points behind Guardiola's side after beating Espanyol 3-0 later in the evening. Sergio Ramos headed them in to an early lead from Granero's corner, and Kaká made it two on the half hour mark after Kameni could only push out Raúl's header. Kaká hit the post after the restart, and with a minute to go substitute Higuaín pulled down a long pass to round Kameni and wrap things up, giving Madrid their eleventh home win in a row.
Valencia kicked off the weekend with a 2-0 victory over Valladolid which consolidates third spot, albeit eight points behind Madrid. Banega gave them the lead in the ninth minute after winning the ball and running on to beat Villar, and the Argentinian midfielder set up David Villa to head the second with half an hour gone. The hosts could have added more after the restart though, and Valladolid's new coach Onésimo has some work to do if he is to turn things around. (06.02.10)