La Liga Match Reports & Results
La Liga Review takes a look at all of this weekend's Spanish football action...
VILLARREAL 2-0 ZARAGOZA
GETAFE 2-1 RACING
ESPANYOL 2-1 MALLORCA
VALLADOLID 0-0 OSASUNA
ALMERÍA 2-2 BARCELONA
ATLÉTICO 3-0 LEVANTE
DEPORTIVO 1-0 R. MADRID
RECREATIVO 4-2 MURCIA
BETIS Suspen. ATHLETIC
VALENCIA 1-2 SEVILLA
Real Madrid's 1-0 defeat at Deportivo gave Barcelona the opportunity to close the gap at the top of La Liga to just five points. Fortunately for Schuster's side, Barcelona's 2-2 draw at Almeria means that 7 points still separates the two bitter rivals at the top of the Spanish league table.
A Pepe own goal ensured that Real Madrid were unable to take anything away from a ground where they have not won in 17 years. (Match Report)
Valencia 1 Sevilla 2
A late goal for Valencia from Raul Albiol could not prevent them from going down to their 12th defeat of the La Liga season. Only the Spanish league's bottom club Levante have lost more than Valencia's record of six league defeats at home this season. The Valencia president resigned in midweek and now Ronald Koeman is starting to really feel the heat: his side now find themselves closer to a relegation spot than they are to sixth place and european qualification.
The Spanish league's leading goal scorer, Luis Fabiano, was once again in fine form as his two early goals ensured the win for Sevilla. Fabiano's tally for the season is now 22 goals and, more importantly, his side move up in to fourth place in La Liga, ahead of Atletico Madrid, who play Levante on Sunday.
Real Betis1 Athletic Bilbao 2 *Match Abandoned
Real Betis' match against Athletic Bilbao was abandoned, with 20 minutes remaining, after the Basque goalkeeper was hit in the face by a bottle thrown by a home fan. Athletic were leading 2-1 at the time of the incident.
The visiting keeper was about to take a goal-kick when he suddenly went down clutching his face and appeared to have sustained a cut just above his right eye. He was subsequently carried off on a stretcher and the game was called to an end at the Manuel Ruiz de Lopera in Seville. The incident happened just minutes after David Lopez's 66th-minute penalty had given the visiting side the lead.
Real Betis will surely face heavy punishment for the incident. La Liga watchers may recall that the Seville based club were handed a three-match stadium ban last March after a similar incident occurred in their Copa del Rey quarter-final second-leg clash against bitter rivals Sevilla, when Juande Ramos was knocked unconscious by a bottle thrown by a Betis fan.
Recreativo Huelva 4 Real Murcia 2
Recre fans must now be starting to believe that they can avoid the drop this season following a convincing win over 10 man Murcia. The visitors, on the other hand, are now surely destined for the drop.
Both teams started the match in the relegation zone, but the defeat now leaves Murcia (19th) eight points adrift of Valladolid (18th) and nine points behind Recreativo (17th) and safety.
Recreativo did well to bounce back from their humiliating 7-1 hammering in Mallorca last week and it looked as if their bad run might continue when Murcia took the lead on 16 minutes through Enrique de Lucas.
Recreativo picked themselves up and equalised within just three minutes thanks to a goal from Florent Sinama Pongolle. The Frenchman then assisted Ruben to give Recre the lead 14 minutes in to the second half.
Cesar Arzo was sent off for Murcia in the 69th minute after picking up a second yellow card, and moments later Pongolle scored for Recre to give the home side a 3-1 lead.
Recreativo defender, and Chelsea target , Martin Caceres then gave away a penalty which Murcia's Ivan Alonso dispatched to make it 3-2 and set up an exhilarating finish to the match. However, the visitors could not find the equaliser and Recreativo sealed the win through Marcos Garcia with just five minutes remaining.
Almeria 2 FC Barcelona 2
Ikechuckwu Uche's late equaliser earned Almeria a 2-2 with Barcelona that strikes yet another blow to the Catalan's La Liga title hopes. Once again, Barcelona blew an opportunity to gain some ground on Spansih league leaders Real Madrid. (Match Report)
Villarreal 2 Zaragoza 0
Villarreal have augmented their bid for Champions league football for next season following their 2-0 home win over Real Zaragoza on Sunday. The hosts have now to within just two points of second placed Barcelona, who the defeated last weekend at the camp nou.
Villarreal tonight heaped more misery upon struggling Zaragoza courtesy of goals in either half from strikers Nihat Kahveci and Giuseppe Rossi. Nihat put the home sidee in front in the 11th minute before substitute Rossi doubled Villarreal's lead from the penalty spot in the 66th minute.
This was Zaragoza's fifth defeat in their last six matches and they now find themselves in 16th place in La Liga, level on points with Recreativo in 18th place. Zaragoza are evidently not 'too good to go down'.
Espanyol 2 Real Mallorca 1
Luis Garcia snatched a dramatic late winner for Espanyol as they came from behind to beat Real Mallorca 2-1 at Montjuic.
Dani Guiza handed the visitors the lead after just 13 minutes, but Luis Garcia equalised from the penalty spot on the hour mark before claiming his second just before the final whistle.
Espanyol's European dreams are very realistic as theBarcelona club now sit in fifth place, level on 45 points with Sevilla in fourth. (pending Atletico's result late in Sunday)
Defeat leave Mallorca in 11th place in La Liga, just two points away from a relegation spot.
Getafe 2 Racing Santander 1
Getafe's fought back from a goal down to grab a 2-1 home win over Racing Santander. The visitors took the lead through Ebi Smolarek just after the interval, but goals from Ikechukwu Uche and Jaime Gavilan saw 'EuroGeta' grab all three points to extend their impressive unbeaten run.
Both sides had a player sent off, with Getafe striker Braulio and Racing goalkeeper Antonio Tono both shown red cards following a few 'handbags' in the 78th minute.
Valladolid 0 Osasuna 0
Real Valladolid's goalless draw with mid-table Osasuna at the Estadio Jose Zorrilla leaves both sides perilously close to the drop zone and neither side can afford to be satisfied with the result.
The draw leaves Valladolid in 17th place on 32 points, level with Recre in 18th; and while Osasuna may feel slightly more comfortable in mid table 12th, they are hardly any more secure with just 34 points.