Real Sociedad moved up to fifth pending the rest of Sunday's games after a 1-1 draw against Levante in this week's mid-day kick-off. The Basque side went ahead with an eighteenth minute Carlos Vela penalty after the Mexican forward was brought down by Nikos on the edge of the area, but ten minutes later the visitors made it all square with a penalty of their own, Michel converting the spot kick after Chory Castro fouled Lell as he advanced in to the area. Before the break Vela and Griezmann both beat the offside trap only for their headers to go to waste, and after the restart Bravo just got enough on a Michel shot to tip it on to the crossbar. Soon afterwards Levante were left with ten men when Nikos picked up a second booking, but Juan Ignacio Martínez's side held on for a point which keeps them three behind their hosts in the table.
Atlético Madrid stay twelve points behind leaders Barcelona after a 0-3 victory at Valladolid on Sunday evening. Falcao opened the scoring for Simeone's side early on, turning the rebound past Dani Hernández after the keeper blocked Godín's short following a free kick, and Diego Costa could have added to the lead before the break had Dani not kept him out a couple of times. Eight minutes in to the second half though Costa did beat the keeper after running on to Koke's headed pass, and the locals didn't cause any problems for Courtois until substitute Manucho came on later on. Koke went close though a couple of times, and with the game coming to an end Cristian Rodríguez took advantage of a poor Rukavina back pass to nip in and score the third.
Real Madrid are still four points behind Atlético after they beat Rayo Vallecano 2-0 later in the evening. Mourinho gave young striker Morata a run out up front, and within three minutes he took his opportunity, steering a shot past Rubén after Kaká and Özil combined to set him up. And less than ten minutes later Madrid appeared to be on track for an easy victory when Ramos fought off his marker to head Özil's free kick past the keeper. However soon afterwards Ramos got himself sent off after picking up two bookings in less than a minute, and Morata was sacrificed to make room for a replacement defender. After that Mourinho decided to play safe, and Rubén only had to make a couple of saves from Kaká and Khedira after the restart. Trashorras fired a shot over the bar at the other end, and Piti saw his shot blocked by his own player as it was heading towards the net, but otherwise Rayo were unable to take advantage of the extra man, and they drop out of the top six as a result.
Valencia are closing in on the Champions League spots, and Valverde's side are just two points behind Málaga after a 2-0 victory over Mallorca. It was not the best of performances though, and the visitors were unlucky to come away with nothing after dominating for much of the match. Giovani in particular brought an early save out of Diego Alves, and Giovani, Luna and Martí all went close either side of half time. The Ches were left with ten men when Tino Costa was sent off for kicking Pina in on off-the-ball incident on the half hour mark, but fifteen minutes in to the second half they took the lead when Ricardo Costa headed in a Canales corner. Alves had to be at his best after that to keep out Hemed, victor and Pina, but once again the locals scored against the run of play, Soldado picking up a through ball from Dani Parejo to beat Aouate for a second time. A seventh game without a win for Gregorio Manzano's side, but on this form there is still hope they can save themselves, at least if they can start finding the net!
Betis drop away from the European spots though after a 1-0 defeat at Espanyol. At the midpoint of the season no less than 16 points separated the two sides, but the Catalans have closed that gap to five after winning five of their last six games under new coach Javier Aguirre. The only goal came early on, Sergio García poking a shot in off the post after Stuani headed back Capdevila's long cross, and the striker came close to a second when he just failed to turn in Verdú's cross soon afterwards. Beñat replied with an inswinging corner which bounced off the bar, and Mattioni and Pabón both felt they should have had a penalty when tackled by the other later on in the first half. After the interval there were chances for both teams, but the locals held on for a fifth home win in a row win which gives them hope of reaching the European places. Betis are going the other way though, and with two points out of a possible 15 their hopes of European football next season are rapidly disappearing. (17.02.13)
A close call for Barcelona at Granada on Saturday evening, although two goals from Leo Messi gave them a 1-2 victory in the end. The Andalusians have been undergoing a revival recently under new coach Lucas Alcaraz, climbing out of the relegation spots after winning their last two games, including a 1-0 victory over Real Madrid in their last match in the Los Cármenes stadium. And although Alexis wasted a couple of chances to put the visitors in front, it was the home team who were ahead at the break after Aranda and Nolito combined to set up Ighalo. Messi equalised though early in the second half after Toño could only push out a shot from Fàbregas, his 300th goal for the club, and Pedro hit the post before Messi won it once again for his team with a well struck free kick a few minutes later.
Málaga consolidate fourth spot after a 1-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao earlier in the day. Saviola got the only goal for Pellegrini's side early in the first half after Piazon crossed in from left of the area, and soon afterwards Baptista brought a good stop out of Raúl Fernández, who had been drafted in by Bielsa after some poor performances by first choice keeper Iraizoz. It was his opposite number Willy Caballero who was the star after that though with a string of first class saves, in particular from Aduríz in the first half, and from De Marcos and Ibai Gómez after the restart. The win takes the Andalusians to within four points of Real Madrid pending their game on Sunday, and leaves the Basque side just six points away from the bottom three.
Galicia's Deportivo and Celta are in trouble though after both lost this weekend, Deportivo staying in bottom spot after losing at Sevilla on Friday evening, and Celta remaining two places above them after losing 3-1 at Getafe in the first match on Saturday. Colunga opened the scoring for the locals after Cabral gave the ball away to Abdel Barrada, and although Augusto Fernández headed the equaliser soon afterwards from Roberto Lago's cross, Diego Costa restored the lead on the follow up after Lago had cleared Colunga's shot off the line. A few minutes before the break Fede Fernández headed a third for Luis García's side following a Colunga corner, and Abdel and Colunga could have increased the lead after the interval.
Osasuna moved away from the relegation spots however after beating Zaragoza 1-0 in the last game of the day. Kike Sola headed the only goal of the match from Damià's cross in the fourth minute, and the striker came close to increasing the lead when he just failed to turn in a couple of crosses either side of half time. Zaragoza's new signing Rochina brought the save of the night out of Andrés before the interval, and went close soon after the restart, but Gato Silva responded with a lob later on in the second half which Roberto did well to keep out. A much needed victory though for the Pamplona based team, and they move a point above their opponents in the table. (16.02.13)
Deportivo remain at the foot of the table after a 3-1 defeat at Sevilla on Friday evening. After four defeats in a row, club president Lendoiro changed his coach for the second time this season, but the new incumbent Fernando Vázquez fared little better. With only six minutes gone Rakitic headed the locals in to the lead from Coke's cross, and Aranzubia had to keep out Navas and Kondogbia before "Pit-bull" Medel beat him for a second time midway through the first half. Riki got one back from Aguilar's centre, and soon afterwards he fired a shot over the bar, but before the half time whistle Medel got on the end of a long cross from youngster Alberto Moreno to score his second of the evening and his side's third. After the restart the visitors pushed forward, but keeper Beto produced first class saves from Pizzi, Bruno Gama and Oliveira to keep his team in the running for the European spots. (15.02.13)