A brace from Argentine youngster Eduardo Salvio helped Atletico Madrid warm up for their UEFA Europa League semi-final trip to Liverpool with a 3-1 victory over Tenerife on Sunday.
With nothing left to play for in the league, Atletico coach Quique Sanchez Flores chose to rest players ahead of Thursday's match at Anfield where the Spanish side will be defending a 1-0 lead. It meant giving striker Salvio his first starting place since moving from Lanus in Argentina in January and he responded with his first goals for the club.
After the break Tenerife responded with Roman Martinez pulling a goal back but Sergio Aguero put the game beyond them with a goal after 77 minutes. "It was a good performance and we created enough chances to win the game comfortably," said Sanchez Flores. Looking ahead to the Liverpool match, he added: "There are four days to go and we are going to keep quiet. It is not in our interests to give anything away. I hope we have a good game and it goes according to plan."
Dramatic victory lifts Getafe
A dramatic late penalty from Daniel Parejo gave Getafe a 4-3 victory over Sevilla to put them back in the hunt for a place in Europe. The incentive was on Sevilla, who could have capitalised on Mallorca's surprise 1-1 draw against Malaga, to claim fourth place but instead it was Getafe who moved within two points of a Europa League place.
Getafe missed a hatful of chances in the first half and ended up going into the break behind to strikes from Luis Fabiano and Frederic Kanoute with Adrian Gonzalez scoring the single goal in reply. Fabiano put Sevilla back ahead after Pedro Leon had levelled for Getafe but the game appeared to be heading for a draw with substitute Manu Moral putting Getafe again on level terms. However, Parejo won the game for Getafe from the penalty spot after he himself had been upended.
"This was a good all-round display and maybe it looks better for the way that we came back. We are pleased and I am proud of my players as we never gave up. The result was completely justified but we had to wait until the 93rd minute in order to win," said Jose Michel, the Getafe coach.
Sevilla boss Antonio Alvarez admitted it was a tough defeat psychologically. "It was painful. It is never nice to lose but this was worse in the way that it happened but at least we are still only two points off a Champions League place," he said.
Striker Aritz Aduriz salvaged a point in injury time for Mallorca after they had expected so much more against struggling Malaga. Despite dominating the match and having a host of chances to score including a penalty kick, it was Victor Obinna for Malaga who broke the deadlock against the run of play.
In the dying minutes Aduriz finally brought some reward for Mallorca. "I am trying to look at it from the positive view point that we rescued a point but we can also see that we had a lot of chances to have scored earlier. This is still a point though in the fight for a place in Europe," said Mallorca coach Gregorio Manzano.
Favourites stay on course
Sixth-placed Villarreal came from behind to beat Racing Santander 2-1 to boost their hopes of qualifying for a place in the Europa League. Sergio Canales put Racing ahead with a fine shot but Villarreal deservedly turned the game around with strikes from Diego Godin and Nilmar Honorato. The gap at the top of the table remains just one point with Real Madrid beating Zaragoza 2-1 on Saturday after Barcelona had earlier defeated Xerez 3-1.
It was a nervous performance from Barça who nonetheless beat the league's bottom side with goals from Jeffren Isaias, Thierry Henry and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Mario Bermejo scored for the visitors who lost their composure in the final minutes with Matias Alustiza and Fabian Orellana both dismissed.
Brazilian midfielder Kaka came off the bench, following a six-week injury absence, to grab the winner for Real Madrid after Zaragoza's Adrian Colunga had cancelled out a Raul opener. Valencia consolidated their third position with a 1-0 victory over Deportivo La Coruna thanks to a first-half penalty converted by David Villa.