• Monday, 6 April 2009

    La Liga Round 29: Yellow Submarine Sunk

    Atletico Madrid 2 Osasuna 4
    Espanyol 3 Deportivo La Coruna 1
    Sporting Gijon 0 Racing Santander 2
    Valencia 4 Getafe 1
    Almeria 3 Villarreal 0
    Athletic Bilbao 2 Mallorca 1
    Malaga 0 Real Madrid 1
    Real Betis 3 Numancia 3
    Recreativo Huelva 0 Sevilla 1
    Valladolid 0 Barcelona 1

    Villarreal warmed up for their Champions League clash with Arsenal in the worst possible fashion, beaten 3-0 down the coast at Almeria, who ended a run of three defeats in four to move 4 points clear of relegation. Alvaro Negredo scored the first, his 17th of the season, before he turned provider for Pablo Piatti to double their lead. With just 35 minutes gone they were three up as Jose Mane was this time the beneficiary of Negredo's assist. Villarreal were shellshocked and never recovered, and the race for that final Champions League spot is back on, after Valencia thumped Getafe at the Mestalla. David Silva put in a virtuoso display, creating two goals as Mata, Villa (2) and Albiol all got on the scoresheet. Two points now the gap between 4th and 5th.

    Further up the table, it is as-you-were as the top three were all victorious by a single goal. Barcelona had a nervy time at Valladolid missing a hat-full of chances after Eto'o scored his 26th of the season to put them ahead. Real Madrid withstood pressure from Malaga to come away from Andalucia victorious through Gonzalo Higuain, while Fredi Kanoute's penalty was enough for Sevilla to overcome Recreativo. It was the Malian's 90th goal for the club, equalling Davor Suker's record for an overseas player.

    Atletico Madrid missed out on the chance to gain ground on the top 4 after they were humbled at home by struggling Osasuna, who were inspired by a superb display from Iranian playmaker Masoud Shojaei. The midfielder was substituted to a standing ovation from the home fans towards the end of the game, but their generosity did not extend to their own players and board who were roundly abused at the end. Walter Pandiani scored twice, Krisztian Vadocz made it 3-1 before Shojaei rounded off the scoring with a marvellous individual goal. It puts Abel Resino under increasing pressure - what a basket case of a club - 1 win in four for them.

    Racing Santander pulled away from the drop after goals in each half from Nikola Zigic (his 9th since returning north) and Gonzalo Colsa beat Sporting Gijon, who are three points above the bottom three. Espanyol secured a huge win, 3-1 at home to Deportivo thanks to Ivan Alonso and De La Pena; And Real Betis and Numancia drew 3-3 (what is it with Betis and 3-3s?) but there was big problems for Paco Chapparo as Sergio Garcia suffered a knee injury whilst celebrating the opening goal. Athletic scored a morale-boosting victory over Mallorca but the Basques have little left to play for.

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