With results earlier in the weekend going against them, Granada started their match at Getafe on Monday evening down in the relegation spots. However they inched back out of the bottom three after a last minute 2-2 draw. The locals went ahead in the twentieth minute when Juan Rodríguez turned in a wide Colunga free kick, but a few minutes later Siqueira equalised from the penalty spot after referee Alvarez Izquierdo ruled that Abraham had handled the ball inside the area. Luis García's side restored the lead before the interval however when Paco Alcácer ran on to Colunga's over head kick to beat Roberto, and after the restart they could have gone further ahead, Colunga and Alvaro Vázquez both hitting the woodwork, and Alvaro having a strike ruled out for a dubious offside. But with the game in injury time Granada were awarded a second penalty when Rafa blocked Torje's cross with his hands, and Siqueira stepped up to beat Moyà once again. (14.01.13)
Barcelona beat Málaga 1-3 in the last match on Sunday evening, and at the midpoint of the season they have set another new league record of 55 points out of a possible 57. Willy Caballero did well to save from Messi and Iniesta before Messi intercepted a bad back pass from Camacho to open the scoring midway through the first half. Cesc Fàbregas fired a shot just wide a few minutes later, and five minutes after the break the ex Arsenal midfielder picked up a lofted pass from Messi before steering a shot in off the far post for the second. Only a finger tip save from Caballero prevented Fàbregas from scoring again, and with seven minutes to go substitute Thiago worked a one-two with Messi before drilling a low shot past the keeper for the third. Buonanotte did score a late consolation goal for the Andalusians with a well struck free kick in the last minute, but by then it was all over. The two teams meet again on Wednesday in the cup.
Second placed Atlético Madrid remain eleven points behind the leaders after they won 2-0 against Zaragoza, a result which keeps up their 100% home record this season. Godín and Falcao went close before Tiago opened the scoring with a near post header from Gabi's corner on the half hour mark. And before the break Falcao made it two from the penalty spot after Sapunaru brought down Arda Turan inside the area. After the restart Roberto did well to save from Turan and Falcao fired a good chance wide, and Postiga brought a good save out of Courtois at the other end. A fifteenth win in a row though for Atleti in all competitions, and Courtois has not let a goal in at the Calderón stadium for over eight matches. And with Real Madrid only drawing the day before, Simeone's side have now opened up a seven point gap over their city rivals.
Málaga's defeat left the door open for Betis to move up to fourth, Pepe Mel's side beating Levante 2-0 in this Sunday's mid-day game. Rubén Castro set up Joel Campbell for the early opener, and Adrián had to save from Roger soon afterwards to keep his team ahead at the break. Rubén García wasted a chance to equalise soon after the restart, but a few minutes later Rubén Castro made it two with a shot in off the far post after collecting a short pass from Nacho. Castro could have increased the lead later on when he shot wide following a good run by Agra, but his side had already done enough for an important win against a direct rival for the European spots.
Further down the rankings Deportivo moved off the bottom of the table once again after drawing 1-1 at Real Sociedad. The Galicians took the lead with just under half an hour gone, Alex Bergantiños winning the ball off Ansotegi before playing a pass through for Pizzi to lob the keeper. However a few minutes later Agirretxe headed against the post following a corner, and with the first half coming to a close Carlos Vela equalised after cutting in from the right wing to fire a shot past Aranzubia. Depor were left with ten men when Evaldo picked up a second booking some eighteen minutes in to the second half, but although Griezmann and Ifrán tried their luck after that, the visitors held on for an important point. (13.01.13)
Real Madrid could only draw 0-0 at bottom club Osasuna on Saturday evening, and depending on Barcelona's result tomorrow they could reach the midpoint of the season a record eighteen points behind their arch-rivals. Mourinho's side clearly missed the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo, and Higuain, Callejón and Coentrao all failed to find the target before the break. The visitors didn't do much better though, their best effort before the interval an angled shot by Kike Sola just wide of the post, and neither keeper had a save to make until Casillas kept out Sola and Armenteros after the restart. With a quarter of an hour to go Madrid were left with ten men when substitute Kaká picked up a second booking, and a few minutes later Callejón got the ball in the net from Benzema's cross only to be pulled up for a borderline offside. Two more points dropped though by the defending champions, and with half a season still to go Mourinho has already given up any chance of a second league title in a row.
Later in the evening Valencia put in their claim for one of the Champions League spots, a 2-0 victory over Sevilla taking them up to within a point of fourth placed Málaga, albeit that they are still only seventh in the table. Neither side had too many chances in the first half, the Diegos López and Alves only having to save from Ricardo Costa and Jesús Navas respectively, but five minutes after the restart Soldado opened the scoring for Valverde's side after Rami headed on Banega's corner. Costa shot straight at the keeper on a quick breakaway a few minutes later, and Medel fired an effort in to the stands at the other end later on. With a couple of minutes to go though Soldado wrapped things up with a near post header from another Banega corner, leaving the Andalusians just six points above the drop zone. Their coach Michel may not have too long left to turn things around.
Valladolid are now three points above Sevilla after a 3-1 victory over struggling Mallorca. The man who did the damage was Ebert, the German winger celebrating his return to the side after an injury lay-off with two top class goals. Before that though he tested Aouate with an early free kick, Giovani replying for the islanders with a cross in front of goal which Víctor Casadesús was impeded from reaching. Ebert's first goal came in the twentieth minute when he picked up the ball on the left wing before firing a long shot in to the near top corner of the net, but a quarter of an hour later Víctor equalised with a diving header on the far post from Martí's cross. Either side could have scored after that, Giovani and Arizmendi going close and Ebert bringing another good save out of Aouate. However with three minutes to go Oscar got on the end of Ebert's long pass to poke a first time shot past the keeper, and with the game coming to an end Ebert collected a long ball from Alberto Bueno and cut past Bigas and Aouate to round off a great evening.
Espanyol continued their revival under new coach Javier Aguirre, a 1-0 win over Celta taking them out of the relegation spots. Despite their defeat against city rivals Barcelona last weekend, they began the game full of confidence, and Verdú fired a shot just over the top early on. Casilla had to save from Iago Aspas, but midway through the first half Javi López won the ball off Krohn-Dehli and played the ball on for Stuani to set up Sergio García for the opener. Both teams had chances after the restart, Demidov heading a free kick wide and Aspas causing more problems for the local defence, and Stuani bringing a good save out of Varas before Forlín headed a corner just past the post. But the Catalans held fast for a second home win in a row, and they are now level with their opponents in the table. (12.01.13)
Rayo Vallecano moved up to sixth spot, level with Málaga and Betis on points pending the rest of the weekend's matches, after a 1-2 victory at Athletic Bilbao on Friday night. The locals were trying to end a run of two defeats in a row, and they had the better of the first half, with Rubén having to save from Aduríz, Susaeta shooting wide and Ibai heading against the woodwork. However just three minutes in to the second half Lass collected a long ball from Trashorras and ran on to beat Iraizoz, and soon afterwards the keeper had to be at his best to save from Leo Baptistao. By now Rayo were on top, although Pérez Montero gave them a helping hand as well when, at the behest of his linesman, the referee awarded them a penalty for a trip by Gurpegui on Piti a foot outside of the penalty area. Piti converted the spot kick himself, but a few minutes later San José got one back after Susaeta played the ball in to the area, and Llorente came close to equalising when he headed a free kick wide with five minutes to go. However even though Gálvez was sent off near the end for a second bookable offence, Rayo held on for a fourth win in a row, and with 31 points already in the bag at the mid-point of the season, they can start setting their sights a little higher than just staying up for another year. (11.01.13)