Ten-man Malaga fall to Recreativo
© AFP

Malaga's hopes of European qualification suffered a setback after they were beaten 2-0 at home by mid-table Recreativo Huelva. The Andalusian side have surpassed expectations by riding high in the table after being promoted last season, but they struggled against Recreativo after the first-half dismissal of Manuel Lolo. Javier Camunas gave the visitors the lead after 54 minutes with a shot from the edge of the area and then Jesus Vazquez hit the post before they doubled the lead with a fine finish from Adrian Colunga.

Deportivo La Coruna are just below sixth-placed Malaga on goal difference, after they beat bottom side Numancia with a Juan Rodriguez strike mid-way through the second half. A Walter Pandiani goal in first-half injury time rescued a point for Osasuna who drew 1-1 with Racing Santander, but they are still encamped in the bottom three.

Mallorca continued their fight against relegation by beating Sporting Gijon 1-0 to secure their third successive win. Sporting, who have concerns of their own after losing four consecutive matches, had an early chance to go ahead through Miguel Michel, but Mallorca also had their share of opportunities and it took a free-kick from Juan Arango to give the visitors the win.

An Alvaro Negredo brace helped Almeria to a 2-1 victory in the mid-table battle with Getafe after Jofre Gerron had secured the opening goal. The former Real Madrid youth player continued his fine run which has now seen him score seven in five matches.

On 28 February, Real Madrid reduced the gap on bitter rivals Barcelona at the top of the table to four points when substitute Guti and veteran skipper Raul scored in a 2-0 win at Espanyol. Having defeated Barcelona last weekend, Espanyol were in charge at the Olympic Stadium, but their inability to create clear chances was to prove crucial.

Real soaked up the pressure before Guti put them ahead from a free-kick that was conceded after a rare attack. Five minutes later, Raul slotted home to give Real the three points and extend their winning run to ten matches. Real coach Juande Ramos singled out Guti for special praise.

"We knew that the game was not going to be easy, but we were very motivated," said Ramos, whose team had been stunned by a home midweek UEFA Champions League defeat to Liverpool. "There was little difference between the teams in the first half, but after the break Guti changed the match and after his goal Espanyol had to take risks which led to the second goal."