Osasuna and Athletic Bilbao drew 0-0 in the Monday night game, a result which left the visitors down in eighth spot, two points now behind the top six. It was a typical Basque derby, with two solid defences giving away few chances throughout the match. Rúper and Juanfran tried their luck early on, but Ricardo had to be at his best to keep out a Llorente header shortly before half time. Susaeta burst through after the restart only to shoot at the keeper, and Pandiani kept Iraizoz on his toes with a long shot a few minutes later. With the game coming to a close Toquero tested Ricardo once again, but the ex Manchester United veteran held his nerve to ensure a point which keeps his side safely in mid-table. (26.04.10)
An extraordinary match to round off the weekend, Getafe beating Sevilla 4-3 to move to within two points of the European spots. Adrián González gave his father Michel's side the lead after Pedro León put him through early on, and the locals could have been further ahead when Adrián hit the woodwork either side of his goal. Two goals from Luis Fabiano and Kanouté turned the scoreline around though shortly before half time, and Luis Fabiano hit the bar just minutes after the restart. Pedro León equalised again with just under an hour on the clock, but three minutes later a dazzling run by Luis Fabiano ended with the striker restoring the lead for the visitors. Manu levelled the scores again though after combining with Adrián, and with four minutes to go the Andalusians were left with ten men when Kanouté picked up a second booking. And with the game in injury time Lolo gave away a penalty on Dani Parejo, and Parejo himself stepped up to drive home the spot kick.
Sevilla's defeat means that Mallorca hold on to fourth place despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Málaga. The Balearic Islanders had only dropped points at home to Sevilla and Barcelona, and they started well, with Rubén and Aduríz both bringing good saves out of Munúa. A couple of minutes before the break Manzano's side were awarded a penalty when Stepanov was sent off for handling in the area, but the keeper guessed correctly and saved Chori Castro's spot kick. Despite playing with ten men though the visitors almost scored when Obinna's effort was cleared off the line by Rubén, and although Aduríz hit the post at the other end a few minutes later, Obinna drilled home a low shot with four minutes to go to put the Andalusians ahead. They were denied a victory though in controversial circumstances, Munúa tripping over Keita as he went to clear, allowing Aduríz to head home a last minute equaliser.
Villarreal consolidated sixth spot after coming from behind to beat Racing Santander, their fifth win in six games. The Cantabrians started the better of the two teams, Diego López having to save from Canales and Tchité early on. And with seven minutes to go to the break Canales proved why Real Madrid have snapped him up for next season, juggling the ball with his back to goal before beating the keeper with a shot on the turn. The visitors came back though, Godín levelling the scores with twenty minutes to go after Cazorla crossed in following a corner. And a few minutes later Nilmar got what was to prove the winner, running the ball in to the net after Coltorti could only punch up Escudero's header.
Atlético Madrid have other things on their minds right now, but they made absolutely sure of staying up with a 3-1 victory over Tenerife. With a trip to Anfield for the Europa League semi-final pending, Quique rested some of his key players and gave winter signing Salvio a first start. And the youngster put in a claim for more first team football, opening the scoring after Aragoneses could only push out Agüero's shot, and adding the second after connecting with a cross from Valera. Jurado hit the bar in between, and Tiago fired a shot just wide soon after the restart, but Román got one back before Agüero picked up a pass from substitute Forlán to wrap things up.
Tenerife are still only two points away from safety though, and Valladolid caught them up after a 0-2 victory at Sporting Gijón. Chances were few and far between for most of the match, Barral wasting a couple in the first half and Keko forcing a good save out of Juan Pablo after the interval. With ten minutes to go though Manucho got on the end of Keko's cross to head the visitors in to the lead, and after Maldonado and Del Horno were both sent off, Javi Baraja made sure of three vital points for Javier Clemente's side in injury time.
Almería and Espanyol came in to their Sunday night match level on 38 points, still needing two or three more to be sure of another season in the top flight. But it was the Catalans who came away with the spoils after a 0-1 win. Luis García got the only goal with a well struck free kick ten minutes in to the second half, and after that Verdú, Callejón and Osvaldo could have increased the lead. The game ended with a bust up between the players, Pareja picking up a second booking which puts him out of the next game. (25.04.10)
Barcelona kicked off the weekend with a 3-1 win over bottom club Xerez, throwing down the gauntlet once again to rivals Real Madrid. With one eye on next Wednesday's Champions League game, Guardiola made several changes to his line up, with Messi on the bench after playing several matches in a row. Even so, by the middle of the first half they were already two up, Jeffren recovering well to round Casado and beat Renan from a wide angle, and Henry scoring the easiest of goals after Keita and Ibrahimovic combined to set him up. A minute later however Mario Bermejo blasted one back for the visitors after Chygrynskiy gave the ball away, and in the first five minutes of the second half Gioda, Armenteros and Bermejo could all have equalised. Guardiola had to bring on Messi and Piqué to steady the ship, and soon afterwards Ibrahimovic put the fans' minds at rest with a third goal from Touré Yaya's cross. Xerez's frustrations spilled over in the end, Alustiza and Orellana both getting sent off in the last couple of minutes.
Real Madrid kept up the pace though with Barça, and they remain a point behind the leaders after a 1-2 victory at Zaragoza later in the evening. Pellegrini's side had the better of an aggressive first half, Ronaldo testing Roberto a couple of times and Raúl hitting the post. Five minutes after the restart Raúl opened the scoring for Madrid from close up after Cristiano Ronaldo had a shot blocked and then turned the rebound back across goal, and a minute later the locals were left with ten men after Contini was sent off for elbowing Higuaín. José Aurelio Gay's side came back, Colunga running on to Aguilar's pass to round Casillas and equalise, but Madrid dominated after that, Ramos heading against the post and Guti bringing a good save out of Roberto. Pellegrini finally brought on Kaká for his first match after a long injury lay-off, and just seven minutes later he picked up Ronaldo's through ball to score what was to prove the winner. Four games to go, and the title race is still wide open.
Valencia are a step closer to the third automatic Champions League spot after beating Deportivo 1-0 in the last match of Saturday evening. The Galicians had already won in the Mestalla stadium this year when the two teams met in the cup, but after a run of eight games without a win they are currently down on their luck. The Chés dominated for most of the first half, and they went ahead with a Villa penalty after Zé Castro blocked Vicente's shot with his arm on the half hour mark. Aranzubia had to be on his toes to stop Villa and Baraja from increasing the lead after the break, and although Pablo Alvarez wasted a chance to equalise, Silva should have scored late on when his shot came back off the post in to the arms of the keeper. The game ended with a red card for Baraja, but the final whistle came seconds later. (24.04.10)