La Liga Roundup, Apr. 11
Mallorca and Athletic Bilbao kept up their chase for a Champions
League place next season with victories in the Spanish league on
Mallorca beat third-place Valencia 3-2 to join Sevilla, which
is fourth, on 51 points while Athletic cruised to a 4-1 win over
Almeria to stay three points off the last qualifying spot for
Europe’s top-tier competition.
Chori Castro and Pierre Webo scored first-half goals for
Mallorca before Jordi Alba reduced Valencia’s deficit just after
the restart. Valencia midfielder Manuel Fernandes’ own goal in the
63rd minute proved to be the winner, with the visitor pulling a
goal back with four minutes left through Pablo Hernandez.
Javi Martinez scored two goals – one of them following an
impressive dribble around three defenders inside the area – for
Athletic while Igor Gabilondo and Fernando Llorente were also on
Also on Sunday, Toni Moral’s 84th-minute equalizer earned
relegation-battling Racing Santander a 1-1 draw at Deportivo La
Coruna, Osasuna beat Zaragoza 2-0 and Espanyol was a 3-0 winner
over Atletico Madrid.
Castro beat Valencia goalkeeper Cesar Sanchez with a shot in
the seventh minute as Mallorca started well and Webo headed home a
corner in the 22nd minute for 2-0.
Alba scored from a counterattack just after halftime but
Valencia’s frail defense was at fault for Mallorca’s third,
Fernandes sending Castro’s center into the roof of his own net with
Aritz Aduritz threatening to tap in at the far post.
Mallorca goalkeeper Dudu Aouate saved Nicola Zigic’s volley
before Hernandez slipped a ball home with four minutes remaining.
David Silva could have equalized for Valencia in injury time but he
Spain striker David Villa watched from the bench after being
rested by Valencia coach Unai Emery.
Athletic peppered Almeria’s goal from the start and Martinez
shrugged off his marker to head home a corner kick for the
Gabilondo doubled the lead in the 32nd after unleashing a
left-footed shot from outside the area that squeezed past
goalkeeper Diego Alves and went in off the near post.
Martinez was left shaking his head in disbelief after his
slick skills made it 3-0 in the 49th minute. The 21-year-old
midfielder broke into the area, dribbled around three defenders
before tucking his shot in at the near post past Alves.
Llorente made up for an earlier penalty miss when he poked
Gaizka Toquero’s cross past Alves.
“Our main rival is ourselves,” Athletic coach Joaquin
Caparros said of finishing the season in the European places. “We
need to be strong at home because if we follow this line of results
in away games, we’ll get the results.”
Substitute Pablo Piatti scored for Almeria in the 71st, but
the visitor was never in the contest at the San Mames.
Ivan “Riki” Sanchez took advantage of miscommunication
between goalkeeper Fabio Coltorti and defender Oriol Lozano to put
Deportivo ahead after just 33 seconds at El Riazor stadium.
Deportivo’s winless streak was stretched to six games,
however, when Moral headed home Pedro Munitis’ cross from the right
to give Racing a much-needed point as it looks to avoid the drop.
Racing and Zaragoza share 32 points – six more than
18th-place Tenerife, which is in the last relegation spot.
Carlos Arrenda put Osasuna ahead against Zaragoza after two
minutes before midfielder Kristian Vadocz sealed victory in the
90th minute with a superb effort from 35 meters (yards).
Atletico goalkeeper David De Gea continued his impressive
debut campaign by saving two point-blank chances by Pablo Osvaldo
inside 23 minutes.
But the teenager was out of position in the 47th minute when
Victor Ruiz turned home a cross while positioned on the ground.
Osvaldo finally beat De Gea in the 67th minute with a
well-directed header for his sixth goal since joining the club in
Ivan Alonso scored the third, in injury time, after Atletico
was reduced to 10 men following Tomas Ujfalusi’s red card for a
“In games like these, with such intensity and so open, the
work multiplies and honestly, right now, we can’t compete with
that,” said Atletico coach Quique Sanchez Flores, who guided his
team into the Europa League semifinals on Thursday. “We would have
preferred a slower-paced game.”
Barcelona beat Real Madrid 2-0 on Saturday to go clear at the
top of the standings with 80 points. Madrid has 77 points, while
Valencia has 56.
On Saturday, it was: Malaga 1, Sevilla 2; Tenerife 0,
Valladolid 0; Villarreal 1, Sporting Gijon 0; and Xerez 0, Getafe