A late goal by Jurado gave ten man Atlético Madrid a 1-0 victory over Osasuna in this week's Monday night game. After a disappointing result in the midweek Europa League match, Quique put out a full strength side. Ten minutes after the restart however the locals were left with ten men after Simao picked up a second booking, and De Gea did well to keep out Juanfran and Vadocz as the visitors looked to take advantage of the extra player. With eleven minutes to go however Jurado picked up the ball on the edge of the area to curl a shot over Ricardo, and De Gea made sure of the final result with a late save from Josetxo. (15.03.10)
Real Madrid stay ahead of arch-rivals Barcelona on goal difference after beating Valladolid 1-4 in the last match on Sunday evening, a relief for Pellegrini and his side after their midweek elimination from the Champions League. Cristiano Ronaldo started things off midway through the first half with a free kick which took a slight deflection off the head of Diego Costa, and Higuaín added two more either side of half time, the first from Van der Vaart's free kick and the second after Ronaldo headed on a Xabi Alonso free kick. The home side's best chance up to then was from a Pelé free kick which Casillas pushed against the post, and they got one back when Albiol deflected the ball in to his own net after Casillas blocked a shot from Costa. But Higuaín completed his hat-trick a few minutes later after Villar could only parry a wide shot from Ronaldo, and although Pelé hit the post again with another free kick late on, the game was already over.
A couple of hours earlier Barcelona had beaten third placed Valencia 3-0, thanks largely to a spectacular second half hat-trick from Messi. The visitors had the better of the opening minutes, Jordi Alba heading an early chance over and Pablo Hernández bringing a couple of saves out of Víctor Valdés. Messi tested César at the other end and then set up Pedro for him to shoot wide, but otherwise the locals were disappointing, and Guardiola gave orders from the stands to replace an off-form Bojan with Henry. Ten minutes after the restart though Messi picked up the ball outside of the area and ghosted past three defenders to send César the wrong way and open the scoring. Valdés had to make a vital save from substitute Zigic, but soon afterwards the visitors were left with ten men when Maduro picked up a second yellow card. And with ten minutes to go Messi picked up two passes from Henry within a minute to score two more impressive goals to wrap things up.
The remaining games on Sunday largely involved teams struggling near the foot of the table, with bottom club Xerez sinking further away from safety after a 2-0 defeat at Villarreal. The locals totally dominated the first half, Cani, Llorente and Nilmar all failing to convert chances and Bruno hitting the bar before Ibagaza sent Llorente away for the opener. The Andalusians did a bit better after the restart, with Calvo and Momo going close, but Nilmar and Rossi could both have added to the lead before Escudero finally beat Chema for a second time near the end.
Tenerife though moved to within three points of escaping the drop zone after a 4-1 victory over Espanyol. The Canary Islanders started strongly, Kameni having to make a couple of saves before he was beaten by a shot from Richi which took a wicked deflection off a defender. Four minutes after the restart Nino took advantage of a loose back pass by Verdú to run on and score the second, and although Verdú made up for his mistake with a consolation goal after Marqués set him up, two more in the last ten minutes by Alfaro and Nino made sure of a vital three points for the locals.
Racing Santander and Zaragoza are only just above the relegation spots after they cancelled each other out in a 0-0 draw. Both sides had their chances, Colsa heading wide in front of goal and Aguilar bringing a good save out of Coltorti before the break. And in the second half Roberto did well to keep out Colsa from close range, and Crespo cleared a shot from Diogo off the line with the keeper beaten. A point apiece in the end, and the Cantabrians stay one ahead of their opponents in the table.
Málaga also drop back in to the relegation struggle, a 1-0 defeat at the hands of regional rivals Almería meaning they end the weekend level on points with Racing. There was little action until early in the second half, when Soriano scored what was to prove the only goal after Acasiete headed the ball back to him in the area. Diego Alves saved from Javi López at the other end a few minutes later, and Goitom could have increased the lead when he hit the bar near the end. Almería have now gone seven games without loss under new coach Juanma Lillo. (14.03.10)
Sevilla hold on to fourth spot for another week at least after drawing 1-1 with Deportivo on Saturday night. A win for the visitors would have taken them above their opponents, but it was the Andalusians who took the lead in the twentieth minute when Fazio got above the defence to head a long Perotti free kick past Aranzubia. Three minutes later though Depor equalised, Valerón and Guardado combining to set up Adrián to score from close to goal. Perotti hit the post and Aranzubia was lucky to be let off a red card when he stepped outside of the area to deflect a Navas shot past the post with his arm just before the break. And Luis Fabiano came on in the second half to head against the bar and then test Aranzubia a couple of times. But the Galicians could have won it themselves as well had Palop not kept out Juan Domínguez late on.
Deportivo stay sixth, although for a couple of hours they were out of the European spots after Athletic Bilbao picked up a point in a 0-0 draw at Sporting Gijón. The home side started well, Amorebieta deflecting a shot from Barral away for a corner in only the second minute, but it took a good save by Juan Pablo from Javi Martínez to keep the scores level at the break. The local keeper was instrumental in giving away a penalty after the restart, Toquero intercepting his poor pass and being brought down by José Ángel as he made his way in to the area, but he made up for his mistake saving Gabilondo's spot kick. And after that he kept out a dangerous header from Llorente to ensure a point for his side.
The draws by Depor and Athletic mean that Mallorca stay in fifth place spite despite a 3-0 defeat at Getafe earlier in the evening. Aouate had to save from Pedro León before Dani Parejo got on the end of Gavilán's cross to open the scoring on the half hour mark. The visiting keeper kept out Casquero and León again after the restart, but with ten minutes to go he was beaten for a second time when Miku ran on to Parejo's through ball to drive a shot past him. Five minutes later Nunes was sent off for blocking the ball on the line with his hand, and Manu fired home the resulting penalty to give Michel's side their first victory since the mid-point of the season seven games ago. (13.03.10)