Forlan brace sinks Valencia
Diego Forlan grabbed a brace as Atletico Madrid swept aside nine-man Valencia 4-1 in an entertaining Primera Division encounter at the Vicente Calderon.
David Silva opened the scoring for the visitors after 21 minutes but the game turned on a contentious incident nine minutes later which saw Forlan draw Atletico level from the penalty spot. Valencia lost captain Carlos Marchena to a red card in that incident, but they still managed to keep Atletico out for nearly 50 minutes, thanks largely to some brilliant goalkeeping from Cesar Sanchez.
Cesar was finally beaten by Sergio Aguero's 79th-minute header and soon after that Valencia suffered another blow when they had full-back Miguel sent off. Forlan's second and Jose Manuel Jurado's injury-time strike completed the rout.
Athletic Bilbao secured a valuable point in a goalless draw at 10-man Sevilla. The Basque outfit suffered a humiliating 4-0 defeat at Anderlecht just three nights ago, but Joaquin Caparros' side produced a positive reaction to move a point closer to a return to European competition. They were aided by Ndri Romaric's 50th-minute sending-off for fourth-placed Sevilla, who nevertheless moved to within three points of Valencia in the race for third.
Real Mallorca reignited their European challenge with a 2-1 win over struggling Real Valladolid. Alberto Bueno gave the hosts the lead against the run of play five minutes after half-time but Ruben Gonzalez equalised 19 minutes later and Julio Alvarez struck the winner seven minutes from time.
Villarreal put a miserable week behind them with a morale-boosting 1-0 victory over Deportivo La Coruna at El Madrigal. Joseba Llorente struck the only goal of the game in the 36th minute as Villarreal bounced back from last weekend's 6-2 league mauling at Real Madrid and Thursday's 4-1 UEFA Europa League loss at Wolfsburg.
Sporting Gijon came from behind to seal an important and entertaining 3-2 win over Osasuna. Miguel De Las Cuevas gave Sporting the lead after 17 minutes but Javad Nekounam levelled from the penalty spot to leave the scores even at the break.
Osasuna looked to have taken control of the match as Krisztian Vadocz gave the Pamplona-based side the lead with a deflected effort four minutes into the second half. But Sporting produced a late revival to seal all three points thanks to a David Barral strike with 20 minutes remaining and Diego Castro's penalty 10 minutes later.
Racing Santander failed to ease their relegation fears as they went down to a third straight league defeat at home to Almeria. A goal in each half from Fernando Soriano and Albert Crusat left the hosts five points above the drop zone.
Rock-bottom Xerez and Espanyol shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw at Estadio Municipal de Chapin. Dani Osvaldo gave Mauricio Pochettino's side the lead after 18 minutes but the Barcelona-based side were pegged back late on by Mario Bermejo.