Málaga-FC Barcelona/ PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

Real Madrid kept up the pressure at the top with a 4-1 win over Bilbao –though they had to
come back from a goal down early on, whilst Valencia slipped further behind the top two after
dropping two points in Pamplona.

At the bottom, Zaragoza got a point away to Levante, whilst Villarreal thrashed Sporting 3-0 to
move out of the relegation places and send Granada into the drop zone.

Madrid fight back against Bilbao

Fernando Llorente stunned the Bernabeu crowd with a brilliantly struck volley to put Bilbao
ahead on 13 minutes and after Wednesday’s defeat to Barça, the alarm bells began to ring.
Mourinho had gone for a more creative line up though, and in a vibrant game Marcelino
equalised before two Cristiano Ronaldo penalties and a fourth from Callejon saw off Bielsa’s
brave, but tiring team to keep Madrid five points ahead of Barça. Valencia are now nine points
adrift of Barça, after a 1-1 draw against Osasuna. Valencia had gone ahead through Soldado
with their first attempt on goal – on 85 minutes! – before a late equaliser from Lolo at a free
kick awarded after Albelda had been sent off, gave the hosts a deserved point.

Espanyol up to fifth

Osasuna’s point wasn’t enough to keep them in fifth though, as Espanyol’s 3-0 win over
Granada moved them above the Basques, who drop to sixth a point behind on 27. Baena,
Verdu and Rui Fonte made up for Espanyol’s injured forwards – Pandiani, Alvaro and Sergio
Garcia are all out - to stretch the team’s unbeaten league run to five games and see off
Granada 3-0. It was the end of the road for the visitors’ boss Fabri, who became the sixth La
Liga manager to be sacked this season following a run of three defeats since Christmas, which
has left them in the relegation spots.

Falcao hat trick in Donosti

A hat trick from Falcao helped Atletico Madrid to a convincing 0-4 win over Real Sociedad to
lift them up to eighth place, level with Bilbao and Seville and just a point behind Osasuna who
they meet next week in Pamplona. Simeone has enjoyed a great start for the Madrid team
with seven goals in the last two games, though after the win in Donosti he insisted: “one of my
main aims is that we defend well”. Seville drop to ninth after the 1-1 draw in the derby game
against Betis. Negredo had equalised for Seville after Beñat’s opener for Betis, but Marcelino’s
team were up against it in the second half once Fazio was sent off on 70 minutes.

Much needed win for Villarreal

Villarreal got a much needed boost with their 3-0 win at home to Sporting Gijon on Monday
night, which lifts them to 17th level on 19 points with Granada, whilst Sporting drop to 19th a
point behind. Bottom club Zaragoza are still seven points clear of safety, down on 12 points
after a goalless draw at Levante and with visits to Real Madrid, Espanyol and Malaga coming
up, things are looking tough for Manolo Jimenez’s team.

Finally, there were two impressive away wins for Mallorca and Getafe. The Islanders beat Rayo
0-1 to move up to 14th, level on points with Rayo, whilst Getafe are now in 11th on 24 points
after a 1-2 win in Santander handed Racing( 16th on 20 points) their first defeat in six league
games.