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Pinya de celebració a Valladolid. FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

Jose Mourinho’s decision to bench Spain and Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas for the game at Malaga on Saturday night backfired spectacularly, as his team went down to their second away defeat in three trips. After a goalless first half in which Ronaldo and Di Maria both spurned good chances, Isco opened the scoring for Malaga just after the break and although an own goal from Sanchez brought Madrid level, two quick fire goals from Roque Santa Cruz ensured the points despite Benzema’s late second for the visitors. The win was Malaga’s fifth in their last six games and sees them go into2013 just two points behind Madrid.

Atletico maintain 100% home record

Atletico Madrid duly saw off Celta to maintain their 100% home record, though their 1-0 win came at a cost with Miranda, who was sent off late on, Falcao and Arda, who saw yellow , all suspended for the first game of 2013. That game is in Mallorca and Caparros’ team sprung the surprise of the weekend on Saturday, with their first win in three months, beating Betis 1-2. Beñat had put the hosts one up early on and they should have put the game to bed in the first 45 minutes, missing a host of chances. Mallorca then sucker punched them on the half hour with a Casedesus header and at the start of the second, a much disputed penalty was put away by Marquez to give the visitors a win that takes them out of the bottom three and up to 16th on 16 points and leaves Betis fifth, three behind Malaga.

Big wins for Espanyol and Granada

Espanyol and Granada also won at the bottom, though the Catalans are still in the relegation places. Aguirre’s team continued their improvement under the Mexican’s leadership, seeing off bottom side Deportivo 2-0 with goals from Simao and Stuani to extend their unbeaten run to four games ahead of their visit to the Camp Nou in January. Espanyol are now 18th on 15 points, whilst Deportivo prop up the table with 12. Osasuna are second bottom on 14 points after losing 1-2 to Granada, with the Andalucians up to 16 points in 15th, a point ahead of Espanyol and Celta.

Seville

Seville ended a miserable December that saw them take just one point from four games losing 2-1 to Real Sociedad on Thursday to leave them only three points ahead of Granada. The win t takes the Basques up to seventh place, just two points behind sixth place Levante, who suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat at Rayo. Valencia also moved up the table to ninth, a point behind Real after seeing off Getafe 4-2 at Mestalla, whilst in the last league game of 2012, Zaragoza put more distance between themselves and the relegation fight with a 0-2 win in Bilbao that leaves them 12th on 22 points- one ahead of their hosts.

 


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