Mallorca move to fourth
Real Mallorca moved level on points with fourth-placed Sevilla following an impressive 3-0 win at home to Sporting Gijon on Sunday.
Julio Alvarez gave Mallorca the lead after 12 minutes, and although they looked comfortable throughout, the islanders had to wait until the closing stages to wrap up an impressive victory. Victor Casadesus added the all important second goal with 15 minutes left and Pierre Webo rounded off a satisfactory evening for the locals with the third in the closing stages.
Bottom side Xerez gave their slim Primera Division survival hopes a boost by downing Malaga 4-2 in an thrilling Andalusian derby at La Rosaleda. Xerez, who started the day 12 points adrift of safety, enjoyed the perfect start when Momo put them ahead from the penalty spot after just two minutes.
It soon looked dire for Xerez as they slipped 2-1 behind following goals by Malaga duo Duda and Valdo and were then reduced to 10 men in the 58th minute when substitute Emiliano Armenteros was sent off just a minute after coming on. But Nestor Gorosito's side got back on level terms in the 70th minute when Momo netted his second by volleying home the rebound after his penalty had been saved.
Malaga also lost Duda to a red card in that incident for handball, and with the numbers and scoreline now even, Xerez sensed their chance to claim a rare victory. And so it proved, with Leandro Gioda scoring just four minutes later to put Xerez 3-2 ahead and then substitute Fabian Orellana wrapped up the scoring with a neat finish.
Bilbao stay in touch
Gaizka Toquero struck both goals as Athletic Bilbao kept within striking distance of the European places with a 2-0 victory over struggling Real Valladolid. Toquero netted twice in the space of 10 first half minutes to help Athletic record their fifth successive league win at San Mames and ensure the Basque giants remain only a point behind sixth-placed Deportivo La Coruna in the standings.
Ibrahima Balde powered home an injury-time header to salvage a point for Atletico Madrid at Real Zaragoza in the late match. Senegal-born Ibrahima had only been on the pitch five minutes when he threw himself at fellow replacement Jurado's sublime left wing cross to deny the hosts a much-needed win. Jiri Jarosik had put Zaragoza ahead after six minutes.
Despite a woeful display, it was possibly a deserved leveller for Atletico, who had played the final 25 minutes with 10 men after in-form winger Jose Reyes was sent off. Espanyol and Villarreal shared the points in a game short on goals, but long on entertainment at Cornella-El Prat.
Both sides had numerous chances in an open contest, but a combination of poor finishing and great goalkeeping meant neither team was able to get the vital breakthrough. Espanyol, who had the better chances, finished the game with 10 men after striker Jose Callejon was sent off for a second bookable offence in the closing stages.
Mid-table rivals Osasuna and Getafe also played out a goalless draw to remain separated by just two points.