Piqué playing against Màlaga / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

Casillas: “no need to panic”

Santi Cazorla’s brilliant injury time free kick gave Málaga a 1-1 draw at the Bernabéu, after
the hosts had gone one up through Benzema in the first half. Those dropped points mean
Madrid’s lead at the top has been cut to eight points, but Iker Casillas insists: “there’s no
need to panic – it hurts that they get a draw with the last kick of the game, but in other games
we’ve been lucky in the final minutes – like against Rayo or Betis”. The point wasn’t enough
for Málaga to keep their fourth spot, as Levante moved ahead of them on goal difference after
Xavi Torres scored the only goal with the last kick of the game against Villarreal, who had just
had Marchena sent off. That defeat spelt the end for Jose Molina’s short tenure in charge at
El Madrigal, as he became the 11th La Liga boss to lose his job this season – and the second at
Villarreal so far this campaign.

Soldado hat trick sinks Bilbao

Valencia made a firm statement of their intention to hold onto third spot, by thumping
Athletic Club 0-3 at the San Mamés. Roberto Soldado got a hat trick in the game, which
also saw Athletic's captain Iraola dismissed for two yellow cards, as the strains of competing on
two fronts took their toll on the Basques. Valencia are now six points clear of Levante and
Athletics are down in seventh, four points off the last Champions League place. Osasuna stay
in sixth after their 1-1 draw at Zaragoza on Saturday. The bottom club looked on course for a
morale boosting win when Helder Postiger scored on 85 minutes, but were cruelly denied by
Roversio’s equaliser just three minutes later.

More red cards

Zaragoza cut the gap on Sporting to five points, as Javier Clemente’s team went down 2-1 to
Granada. Martins and Siquiera were on target for Abel Resina’s team, though Martins blotted
his copybook when he was shown a red on the bench at the end of the game, which will rule
him out of the Camp Nou match. Mallorca’s Ivan Ramis also saw red in his side’s 2-1 win over
Atlético Madrid. After a quiet first half, Mallorca got two quick goals after the break, as Godin
put through his own net and Pereira got the second, before Ramis was shown a straight red,
Falcao then missed a penalty before pulling one back for the visitors who suffered their first
away defeat under Simeone. The win leaves Mallorca just three points behind Atlético, who
are themselves just three points and three places behind Osasuna.

With Espanyol and Racing scheduled to play on Monday night, the weekend’s two other games
ended with a convincing 3-0 win for Rayo over Betis, which takes the Madrid club a point
above neighbours Atletico, and a 1-0 win for Getafe over Real Sociedad.