Real Madrid ground out a 1-0 win against lowly Murcia to extend their lead at the top of La Liga.
Hindered by the 20th-minute sending off of Miguel Torres, the title favourites secured victory thanks to Wesley Schneider’s 58th-minute goal.
The previous evening, Barcelona’s fading title challenge sustained another blow, as they were held to a 2-2 draw at Recreativo Huelva. Samuel Eto’o twice gave Barca the lead, but the home side equalised on each oscasion with goals from Spanish forward Ruben.
Fellow title contenders Villareal slipped to a surprise 1-0 defeat at Almeria on Sunday night, leaving them fully ten points behind Real Madrid. The championship title will surely go to the Bernabeau this season.
Racing Santander secured the result of the weekend with a 2-1 win at Valencia, with second half goals from Colsa and Tchite keeping Racing very much in contention for a shock European Cup place. A late Ogbeche goal gave Valladolid a point in their home match with Atletico Madrid, cancelling out Maxi Rodrigeuz’s 68th-minute strike. Atletico Madrid and Santander are neck and neck on points in fourth and fifth respectively. The Madrid side have a game in hand, however, and must remain favourites for 4th place.
Another surprising result was Levante’s 1-0 win over Real Betis in Seville. It looks most unlikely, however, that Levante will pull themselves away from the relegation trap-door – despite Sunday’s win, they are 10 points adrift of 19th-place Murcia.
Real Zaragoza remain in the relegation places after only managing a 0-0 draw away at Getafe. In an ill-tempered match, Zaragoza lost midfielder Matuzalem to a red car in the 72nd minute.
Deportivo pulled away from danger with a comfortable 3-0 win against Bilbao. Goals from Renato, Kanoute and Brazilian full-back Dani Alves gave Seville a creditable 3-2 win away at Mallorca. Seville have over-achieved in recent seasons, and their current standing – sixth – may feel somewhat disappointing for their fans, who have tasted cup success and Champions League football in recent seasons. The architect of their success, Juande Ramos, has now moved on, and the break-up of the current squad in the next transfer window would not be altogether surprising.