With a decisive ten days ahead of them, Real Madrid rested a number of big names against Deportivo on Saturday, with Benzema, Xabi Alonso, Cristiano, Ozil, Khedira and Coentrao omitted from the starting line up. The bottom club made Madrid pay by taking a first half lead which forced Mourinho to bring on Cristiano and the two Germans on the hour mark. Two goals from Kaka and Higuain in the last 15 minutes then proved enough to give the visitors the points and keep Deportivo firmly rooted to the bottom spot after their sixth straight defeat.
Atletico win with ten men
Atletico Madrid maintained their 100% home record with a 1-0 win over Espanyol though they had to do it with ten men for most of the second half after Gabi was shown red. Falcao scored from the spot before the break to chalk up his 21st goal of the season – three behind Ronaldo and a distant 17 off Messi’s total of 38. Malaga fell further behind the top three and are now ten adrift of Real Madrid, with 42 points after they were well beaten 3-0 at Betis on Saturday. Jorge Molina scored in the first minute for Betis, who got two more before the break from Mario and Pabon, to take their side up to 39, just behind Real Sociedad(40) and Valencia(41).
Real Sociedad’s derby win extends unbeaten run
Valencia missed the chance to overtake Malaga when they were held 2-2 in Zaragoza. Apoño and Helder Postiga gave the hosts a two goal lead early on, but a brace from Jonas brought Valencia level, though they were unable to take advantage of Zaragoza’s keeper Leo Franco getting sent off with 15 minutes left to play to grab a winner. Real’s win against Bilbao on Friday means they are sixth after six games unbeaten, ahead of their next two games against Betis and Atletico Madrid.
In-form Osasuna win again
Osasuna made it ten points from their last four games since they lost at the Camp Nou, when they beat Levant 0-2 on Monday. A brilliant late goal from Massoud and a breakaway injury time strike by Kike Sola gave Osasuna the win which lifts them up to 14th on 28 points, whilst helping to send Bilbao - who visit Pamplona next weekend – down into 16th on 26 – just three above the drop zone. Celta are third from bottom, just two points behind Zaragoza, after Abel Resina enjoyed a debut win in charge with a much needed 2-1 win over Granada. Mallorca are now five points behind Celta after they crashed to yet another home defeat, going down 1-3 to Getafe, despite taking an early lead through a fantastic Giovanni Dos Santos goal.
Amat scores a goal at each end within two minutes
In the weekend’s other game, Rayo’s European hopes suffered another blow when they lost 1-2 at home to Valladolid. Jordi Amat scored an own goal to give the visitors the lead on 71 minutes and then a minute later got the equaliser for his own team, only for Manucho to score a late winner for Valladolid, who are now 11th on 33 points, four points and three places behind Rayo.