Third placed Valencia extended their lead over Sevilla to four points after drawing 0-0 with Racing Santander in the Monday night game, although they will be ruing the fact that they could not take the three points against a rival struggling to avoid the relegation spots. The Chés started well, David Villa shooting at Coltorti when free on goal and then hitting the post. But after that the visitors dominated, Tchité shooting wide and Canales bringing a good save out of Moyà before the break. The local keeper was in action again after the restart to stop Tchité, and after David Navarro was sent off for a second bookable offence, Canales wasted a good chance to win the match for the Cantabrians in the final minute. (08.03.10)
Mallorca kept up their push for a European spot with a 3-0 victory over Sporting Gijón on Sunday evening. Julio Alvarez started things off in the twelfth minute with a long cross which bounced past Juan Pablo in to the net, and the keeper recovered from his mistake to save a couple of efforts from Víctor either side of half time. Víctor got his goal though after Chori Castro set him up with a quarter of an hour to go, and substitute Webó wrapped things up in the last minute. Gregorio Manzano's side draw level with fourth placed Sevilla on points, although they remain below them in the table due to a losing head-to-head record against the Andalusians.
Athletic Bilbao are also still in with a chance of a place in Europe, and they stay within a point of sixth placed Deportivo after a 2-0 win over Valladolid. Toquero got both the goals before the break, the first with a near post header from Gabilondo's corner and the second after running on to Llorente's headed pass to beat Justo Villar. Llorente had a headed goal ruled out for a borderline offside after the restart and Villar had to tip a dangerous Gabilondo free kick round the post as the Basque side piled on the pressure, and the visitors hardly troubled Iraizoz all night. Onésimo's side have now gone nine games without a win, and they ended the weekend five points away from safety.
A seven point gap has opened up though between seventh and eighth spot, currently occupied by Villarreal after they drew 0-0 at Espanyol. Despite the result both goalkeepers were kept busy, Diego López in action early on to save from Callejón and then stopping a couple of efforts from Luis García. Kameni replied with saves from Bruno and Marcos Senna, and either side of half time Llorente and Callejón both saw their efforts drift past the post. The locals were left with ten men though when Callejón picked up a second booking for diving in the area, and in the end both sides settled for a point.
Getafe are level on points with Villarreal after they too drew 0-0 at Osasuna. Michel changed his keeper for this match, Ustari coming in to make first class saves from Aranda, Juanfran and Camuñas amongst others. Flaño headed the best of several good chances over the bar early in the second half and Juanfran rattled the crossbar late on, but the visitors had their opportunities as well, Soldado in particular firing a shot over the top shortly before the interval and heading against the post midway through the second half.
Osasuna are up to eleventh, just below Atlético Madrid, who saved a point late on in a 1-1 draw at Zaragoza. Jarosik headed the locals in to the lead in the seventh minute from Gabi's corner, and De Gea had to be on his toes to keep out Gabi a few minutes later. After some inconsistent refereeing from Teixeira Vitienes, Atlético were left with ten men for the last twenty minutes when a frustrated Reyes was sent off for retaliating against Eliseu. But with the game in injury time substitute Ibrahima climbed above Contini to head Jurado's cross past Roberto and square the match.
Zaragoza are just a place above the drop zone, albeit with a cushion of five points between themselves and Valladolid and Tenerife, and bottom club Xerez are now five points below them after beating neighbours Málaga 2-4 for their first away win ever in the top flight. An early Momo penalty was overturned by goals from Duda and Valdo either side of half time. But Momo levelled the scores again, following up after his second penalty was saved by Munúa, and Gioda and Orellana added two more later on for the final result. (07.03.10)
Real Madrid and Barcelona are neck-and neck at the top of the table after Saturday's results. Real Madrid have the edge on goal difference however after a last minute 3-2 win over Sevilla in the last game of the day. Xabi Alonso turned Capel's cross in to his own net under pressure from Negredo in only the sixth minute, and although Palop had a lot of work to do after that, a long Dragutinovic free kick bounced past Casillas to give the Andalusians a two goal lead early in the second half. Cristiano Ronaldo reduced the gap though with just under an hour gone, and two minutes later Sergio Ramos headed the equaliser from Van der Vaart's corner. Higuaín hit the woodwork a couple of times after that, and with the game in injury time Van der Vaart scrambled home the equaliser after Palop could only push out Higuaín's header.
Madrid's win means that Barcelona are off top spot for the first time in over three months after Pep Guardiola's side could only draw 2-2 at Almería. The locals went in front in the twelfth minute when Cisma headed in Bernadello's corner, but on the stroke of half time Messi levelled the scores with a quickly taken free kick. Lillo's side restored the lead when Puyol slid the ball past his own keeper trying to cut out Guilherme's pass to Piatti a few minutes after the restart, and soon afterwards the visitors were left with ten men when Ibrahimovic was sent off following an off-the-ball incident with Cisma. But even so Barça equalised again when Messi took advantage of a bad clearance by Guilherme, and only a great save by Diego Alves prevented the Argentinian forward from completing his hat-trick late on.
Earlier in the evening Deportivo beat Tenerife 3-1 to return to fifth spot in the table, now only two points behind Sevilla. The Canary Islanders had not won away all season, but they took the lead when Juanlu turned a shot wide of Aranzubia early on. Juan Rodríguez headed the equaliser from Guardado's cross with just over half an hour gone though, and Guardado himself put the locals ahead with a low shot a few minutes after the interval. And ten minutes later Colotto put the result beyond the visitors' reach, beating Aragoneses for a third time after the defence only half cleared a corner. (06.03.10)