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Match round-up - First Division, Day 17

Real Madrid stay two points behind leaders Barcelona in the table after a 2-3 win at city neighbours Getafe on Monday evening. Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the eleventh minute after Di María was fouled by Mané, and soon afterwards Di María threaded the ball through for Özil to round Codina and score his side's second. Dani Parejo got one back before the break though against his old team, beating Casillas with a low shot after a good run, and the local keeper had to be on his toes to keep out Gavilán soon after the restart. A bad clearance by Codina though allowed Benzema to set up Ronaldo for Madrid's third, and Benzema, Özil and substitute Kaká fired shots just wide later on. The visitors were left with ten men though when Arbeloa picked up a second booking, and with five minutes to go Marcelo could only turn Mosquera's cross in to the path of Albín, who gratefully drove a shot past Casillas to reduce the gap to one goal.

Villarreal started the new year with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Almería, a result which confirmed the locals in third spot and left the away side back down in the relegation zone. Juan Carlos Garrido's team dominated from start to finish, with Cazorla testing Diego Alves and Rossi shooting wide before Català got on the end of Borja Valero's free kick to head in the opener midway through the first half. Diego López had to make a couple of important saves from Corona before half time, but Cazorla brought another good save out of Alves before Valero beat him for a second time with another well-struck free kick. The visiting keeper did stop Cazorla and Rossi from increasing the lead after that, but Villarreal had already done more than enough to win.

Atlético Madrid hold on to sixth spot, although they will be disappointed that they could only draw 0-0 with Racing Santander on a cold night in the Calderón stadium. The two keepers were the stars of the match, with Toño saving from Agüero and Diego Costa early on, and De Gea keeping out a Kennedy free kick before the break. Ujfalusi had a penalty appeal turned down after the interval and Toño and De Gea were in action again to stop efforts from Koke, Rosenberg, Agüero and Costa, but in the end the Cantabrians came away with the point they were looking for. A poor result for the locals, and with Simao now history, Quique will be hoping that the injured Forlán and the suspended Reyes will be back in the line up as soon as possible.

Mallorca are now only three points behind Atlético after a 3-0 win over Hércules. Calatayud had to save headers from Webó and Cendrós following a couple of early corners, and Webó had a goal disallowed for a borderline offside as the Islanders took control. All the goals though came in a quarter of an hour period either side of half time, Nsue scoring an easy tap-in after the keeper could only push out a shot from Pereira, Víctor getting the second after exchanging headed passes with Webó, and Pereira cutting in from the left to beat Calatayud for a third time after the break. The visitors woke up after that, and Aouate had to keep out Valdez, Trézéguet and Portillo, but it was too little too late from a side who have now not scored away from home in over 500 minutes of football.

Elsewhere Zaragoza moved off the bottom of the table with a last minute 2-1 victory over Real Sociedad. Sinama-Pongolle gave Javier Aguirre's side the lead in the tenth minute, turning past Mikel González before beating Bravo. And the Maños looked like scoring more until a pass from Ander hit referee Fernando Teixeira Vitienes, and Llorente took advantage of the rebound to set up Xabi Prieto to equalise. Both keepers were busy after the restart, and Griezmann hooked a shot just wide of the far post before Zurutuza had a goal disallowed for a previous foul. But with the game coming to an end Bravo could only push out a fierce shot from Marco Pérez, and Braulio ran in to drill home the rebound for a vital win. (03.01.11)

Barcelona started off the new year with another win, although they had some problems before beating Levante 2-1. The visitors were looking to restore a bit of pride after letting in eight against Real Madrid in the cup, and for the first 45 minutes they held off a Barcelona side who were missing Leo Messi, Guardiola having given the Argentinian star a couple more days rest after a long year. However two minutes after the restart Pedro latched on to a Dani Alves pass to fire a shot past Reina, and twelve minutes later the pair repeated the act for the forward to score his second of the evening. Pedro almost completed a hat-trick a few minutes later when he lobbed a shot on to the crossbar, but with ten minutes to go Stuani fired a spectacular volley past Valdés to set up a nervous last few minutes. After the final whistle Xavi was presented with an award for equalling Migueli's all time record of 549 appearances for the club.

Later in the evening Valencia consolidated fourth spot with a last minute 2-1 victory over fifth placed Espanyol. The two sides started the match level on points, but the locals started well with Aduríz firing a shot across goal and having a penalty claim turned down after he was felled by Kameni. With just under half an hour gone the striker opened the scoring with a header from Joaquín's corner, but with the first half coming to end the visitors equalised when Ricardo Costa headed Callejón's cross past his own keeper. The locals were left with ten men on the hour mark when Aduríz was sent off for catching Chica with his elbow, but other than a shot from Callejón which Guaita kept out the Catalans didn't look like scoring. The game appeared to be heading for a draw though until Ricardo Costa headed over a last minute cross from Pablo, and Mata headed the ball in to the net from what looked like an offside position.

Athletic Bilbao missed out on a chance to catch Espanyol in the table after they lost 1-2 to Deportivo. Llorente and Toquero missed early chances for the locals, but midway through the first half Ustaritz tripped Adrián in the area, allowing the youth international forward to score from the resulting penalty. A few minutes later Athletic were left with ten men when San José was sent off for bringing down Adrián as he advanced on goal, but numbers were evened up when Juan Rodríguez picked up a second booking on the stroke of half time. Seven minutes after the Restart Adrián made it two after heading on Aranzubia's long clearance, but Llorente got one back with four minutes to go with a header close to goal from Iraola's cross. The locals were down to nine after Ustaritz was also shown a second yellow card, but even so they came close to equalising in a frenetic last few minutes.

Sevilla returned to winning ways after five defeats in a row in the league, a 1-0 victory over a depleted Osasuna taking them back in to the top half of the table. With Jesús Navas returning to the side after several weeks absence, the Andalusians started strongly, Negredo and Capel in particular failing to convert a couple of chances. Juanfran tested Palop at the other end, but with ten minutes to go to the break Kanouté got away from his marker to head a long Navas free kick wide of Ricardo. After the restart Kanouté, Renato and Navas all tried their luck, with Kike Sola and Juanfran replying for the visitors. For the tenth time this season though Camacho's side failed to score, and Kanouté's goal was enough to give the hosts a much needed three points.

Málaga were not able to include any of their new signings in their Sunday game at Sporting Gijón as the transfer market only opens on Monday, but even so they picked up a valuable 1-2 victory in the Molinón stadium. The Asturians had the better of the first half, Arnau having to save from José Angel and the referee turning down a penalty for hands by Eliseu before awarding one to Sangoy after Mtiglia cut out his cross with his arm. Diego Castro converted the spot kick, but with the first half coming to a close Weligton got on the end of Duda's free kick to equalise. And a quarter of an hour in to the second half Apoño fired home a second penalty after Cuéllar had brought down Eliseu to take his side out of the relegation zone, now four points above their opponents in the table. (02.01.11)