Malaga 0 - 1 Real Madrid & Valladolid 0 - 1 Barcelona

Barca have 72 points with nine games left to play, and remain six ahead of Real.

After an aggressive start from Valladolid, Cameroon striker Eto'o played a slick one-two with Xavi and lobbed the goalkeeper for his 26th league goal of the season just before the break.

Coach Pep Guardiola only used Lionel Messi and Daniel Alves as substitutes with one eye on next week's Champions League quarter-final at home to Bayern Munich.

Malaga put Real under pressure in similar fashion in the late game but a burst from midfield by Argentine striker Higuain saw him score the only goal just after the restart.

Sevilla are third with 57 points after a first-half Frederic Kanoute penalty earned a 1-0 win at Recreativo Huelva.

Fourth-placed Villarreal were unable to cope with Almeria striker Alvaro Negredo as he inspired his side to a 3-0 home win.

The former Real Madrid youth team player netted his 17th of the campaign after seven minutes and set up Pablo Piatti and Mane for two more before half-time.

He hit the post after the restart just before Villarreal were reduced to 10 men when Robert Pires collected his second yellow card.

At the foot of the standings, Numancia grabbed a last-minute equaliser from the penalty spot to draw 3-3 in a thriller at Real Betis, and Copa del Rey finalists Athletic Bilbao ended a run of four successive defeats to beat Real Mallorca 2-1 at home.

Barcelona 6 - 0 Malaga & Real Madrid 3 - 0 Almeria

Real Madrid had earlier cut the gap to three points with a 3-0 victory at home to Almeria, but a sumptuous first-half performance saw the Catalans bag four goals and regain their pre-weekend advantage.

The first came after 19 minutes when a Samuel Eto'o through-ball found Xavi in the box; the midfielder coolly slotted underneath the oncoming Inaki Goitia in the Malaga goal.

The second came six minutes later courtesy of a piece of genius from Lionel Messi, the Argentine beating three men before lashing the ball in from four yards.

Thierry Henry added to the goal-fest on 32 minutes, rounding Goitia after a clinical Xavi through-ball to finish with ease.

Eto'o completed the first-half rout, nutmegging the Mexican keeper after another assist from the impeccable Xavi on 43 minutes.

The second half was not much better for Malaga, with Barca continuing where they left off in the first.

Right-back Daniel Alves headed past Goitia on 51 minutes after a delightfully chipped through-ball from Iniesta before Eto'o grabbed his second of the night, tapping in after a cross from Henry on 57 minutes.

Barcelona then took their foot off the gas, cruising to the final whistle.

Malaga drop to eighth position on 43 points.

Real Madrid comfortably overcame a spirited Almeria side 3-0 in the Bernabeu.

The first half was an open affair, with both teams attacking at will. However Real always carried the greater threat and it was no surprise when they opened the scoring on 23 minutes.

Madrid's Brazilian full-back Marcelo unleashed an unstoppable drive from just outside the box, giving Diego in the Almeria goal no chance.

Both teams then had chances to add to the scoring but it was not until the 53rd minute that the next goal came. This time Dutch goal-machine Klaas Jan-Hunelaar got in on the act, smashing home from 12 yards after poor Almeria defending.

The striker than added a third on 66 minutes, finishing clinically after Diego could only parry a Robben shot into the path of the former PSV man.

The result leaves Almeria two points above the relegation zone while Real temporarily close the gap on rivals Barcelona at the top.

Almeria 0 - 2 Barcelona

The 18-year-old Spain striker was handed a rare start with Samuel Eto'o and Thierry Henry on the bench and he did not disappoint, finishing off delightful passing moves for his first league goals of the season.

Until the diminutive Catalan's 53rd-minute opener, Almeria had frustrated their visitors with goalkeeper Diego Alves in fine form.

The Brazilian shot-stopper made brilliant first-half saves from Kader Keita, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi, and one incredible stop from a Gerard Pique header that was so powerful Alves ended up flying backwards into the goal while the ball spun to safety.

The hosts, meanwhile, were not only on the back foot and tiny winger Albert Crusat should have given them the lead when he raced clear from halfway only to panic and lob well over as Victor Valdes raced to the edge of his penalty area.

Barca took the lead seven minutes into the second half after a hypnotic spell of passing culminated in Messi rifling a shot off the post and into the path of Bojan, who slid the ball into the unguarded net with keeper Alves stranded.

He doubled the lead just over two minutes later after a quite spectacular piece of build-up play that included a give-and-go started by Daniel Alves that went via a flying flick from Iniesta and an audacious backheel by Messi, with Alves running on to the latter to set up Bojan for a deflected finish.

The finish was fortuitous but the prologue spectacular. There was little left for either side to say afterwards as the match fizzled out into a training-ground exercise that saw Alexander Hleb and Eidur Gudjohnsen given a chance to stretch their legs.

The win puts Barca on 67 points, with second-placed Real Madrid on 60, but with 11 games remaining - including a Clasico at the Bernabeu - Los Merengues still have everything to play for.

Almeria 0 - 2 FC Barcelona

Athletic Bilbao 2 - 5 Real Madrid & Valencia 1 - 1 Recreativo Huelva

Real move on to 60 points with 11 matches remaining while Barca have 63 ahead of their game at Almeria after beating their ten-man opponents.

The visitors made the perfect start at Athletic Bilbao when Arjen Robben opened the scoring after running at Athletic's defence before sending a left-footed drive in off the crossbar.

The visitors doubled their advantage after 34 minutes when Gabriel Heinze nodded home Wesley Sneijder's dangerous inswinging free-kick.

However, just when it looked like Real were on course to close the gap on leaders Barca the home side struck back.

Within minutes of scoring at the right end, Heinze put through his own net after making a hash of clearing David Lopez's low driven cross.

The match erupted moments later when the lively Francisco Yeste was given his marching orders for foolishly bundling over Real keeper Iker Casillas.

Athletic were back on level terms before half-time when Casillas somehow failed to keep out Fernando Llorente's far post header in first-half injury time.

The home side's joy was short-lived after half-time with Klaas Jan Huntelaar continuing his good form by somehow squeezing his shot past the statuesque Gorka Iraizoz at his near post.

Athletic pushed forward in search from another leveller, but it was Real who scored next. The visitors broke through Robben and he picked out Huntelaar who finished with aplomb.

Juande Ramos' side added the icing on the cake late on when substitute Gonzalo Higuain converted from 12 yards out after Marcello was feeling in the penalty area.

Ten-man Valencia needed a late goal from Pablo Hernandez to rescue a 1-1 draw against Recreativo Huelva at the Mestalla.

Los Che have been poor of late and another two dropped points on Saturday means they have now gone five Liga matches without success.

Recreativo went ahead in the 55th-minute when Adrian Columnas lunged ahead of two Valencia defenders to poke a loose ball under Cesar Sanchez.

Valencia had Carlos Marchena sent off shortly after, but Valencia managed to secure a point from the contest thanks to Hernandez's leveller.

Barcelona 2 - 0 Atletic Bilbao & Real Madrid 1 - 1 Atletico Madrid

A Sergio Busquets header and a Lionel Messi penalty, both in the first half, gave Barca their first win in six outings in all competitions.

They opened up a six-point lead over chasing Real, whose 10-match winning streak came to an end against Atletico.

Diego Forlan put Atletico ahead before the break and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar levelled in the 57th minute.

The visitors, who beat Barca last weekend, missed a host of second-half chances to claim their first derby win since 1999.

Barca have 63 points with 12 matches left. Atletico remain fifth with 40 points, behind champions Real (57), Sevilla (47) and Villarreal (45).

The emotion of reaching their first Copa del Rey final in 24 years in midweek appeared to take its toll on Bilbao who were second best against their fellow finalists at the Nou Camp.

Barca suffered an early fright when Fran Yeste burst clear only to fire wastefully wide but in the 17th minute they went ahead when Busquets met Xavi's free kick from wide on the left with a powerful header.

The hosts then won a penalty when Andres Iniesta was bundled over as he dribbled into the area in the 32nd minute, Messi putting away the spot kick.

Barca threatened to cut loose after the interval. Iniesta lashed a shot against the post, Bilbao cleared a shot off the line and Samuel Eto'o rattled the crossbar.

Atletico were the more adventurous at the Bernabeu but Leo Franco was the busier goalkeeper until Sergio Aguero made his presence felt.

The Argentine executed a slick backheel to launch a counter-attack and after receiving a return pass he squared for Forlan to beat keeper Iker Casillas in the 38th minute.

After the break Real coach Juande Ramos brought on Gonzalo Higuain for Guti and he made an immediate impact, feeding Huntelaar on the edge of the area.

The Dutch striker turned his marker and fired high into the net, though television replays showed he had been in an offside position.

Atletico refused to wilt, Forlan hitting the post and substitute Florent Sinama Pongolle firing wide when well placed.

In the evening's late game, Villarreal took full advantage of Atletico's draw by beating struggling Espanyol 1-0 at El Madrigal.

Argentinian defender Fabricio Fuentes converted a 20th-minute penalty to open the Yellow Submarine between his side and fifth-placed Atletico to five points.

Athletico Madrid 4 - 3 Barcelona

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has told the club's players and supporters not to panic after successive defeats cut their lead over Real Madrid to only four points.

Earlier in February La Liga leaders Barca were 12 points clear of Madrid.

But since their 2-0 Clasico defeat in Juande Ramos's first match in charge, Los Merengues have won 10 Liga matches on the trot, while Los Cules slumped to defeats at home to local rivals Espanyol and - despite leading 2-0 and 3-2 during the match - at Atletico Madrid.

"We have had a big advantage and Real Madrid have cut it back by eight points in three weeks. But we will continue forward," said Guardiola. "We lost a game which was up and down, very exciting and I have to give credit to Atletico but we will now continue as before.

"Atletico play a very direct style of football and it caused problems. It was a game with plenty of chances, typical of an Atletico Madrid versus Barcelona game."

Atletico coach Abel Resino, whose team occupy fifth place, singled out his players' battling qualities.

"Against a good side we had a first half where we maintained our composure despite the onslaught. Each day I feel as though we are getting better and the team has shown character," he said.

"We never eased off despite being 2-0 down. Sergio Aguero was sensational and his attitude has been contagious."

Espanyol 0-2 Real Madrid & Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Sevilla

Espanyol 0-2 Real Madrid

A stunning free kick from Guti and a clinical finish from Raul gave Real Madrid a critical win at Espanyol to keep up the pressure on Barcelona.

Real close the gap on Barca to just four points, with La Liga's top club facing a tough Sunday match against Atletico Madrid.

Espanyol made it far from easy for Real, however, playing superb football that defied their lowly league position and made them look the team most likely to break the deadlock during a goalless first hour.

Right from the whistle it was the home side that looked the more accomplished, with Fernandez Luis Garcia whipping in a brilliant free kick after just six minutes that drew a superb reaction save from Iker Casillas.

The home side continued to press, and came incredibly close to scoring as a penalty box scramble offered chances to both Daniel Alonso and Ivan de la Pena. Neither could find the target, however, with Alonso's fresh-air swish at the ball being the most agonising miss.

The second half saw an increasingly desperate Real side trying to force positions, but the Espanyol defence seemed simply too solid to let anything through.

Predictably, perhaps, it was from a dead-ball that the visitors made the breakthrough. A free-kick won 30 yards out and in the centre of the pitch always looked to be in a dangerous position, and Guti's stunning strike was genuinely unstoppable: indeed, Carlos Kameni got a hand to it but still could not prevent it ricocheting in off both the cross-bar and post.

Just five minutes later Real doubled their lead, Marcelo's jinking run to the left corner of the box culminating in a lovely pass straight in to the path of the charging Raul, who buried his finish low and hard in to the bottom left-hand corner.

It was a tough blow for Espanyol, who played far better than a 2-0 scoreline suggested; but once they had ceded the advantage to Real the visitors squeezed the life out of their hosts and played out a solid - and potentially crucial - victory.

Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Sevilla

Frederic Kanoute scored a stylish double to help third-placed Sevilla come from behind and earn a 2-1 away victory over Athletic Bilbao in La Liga.

Sevilla enjoyed more possession in the opening stages but it was the home side who struck on 26 minutes: the visitors' keeper Andres Palop got a hand to Igor Gabilondo's low shot, but the ball squirmed over the line into the bottom corner.

The Andalusian side continued to push their hosts, however, and Kanoute produced a sublime piece of control to create the equaliser five minutes before the break. The Mali international took the ball down in the penalty area, shrugged off a defender and slammed the ball past Armando.

He twice went close before grabbing the winner just before the hour when he picked up a Ndri Romaric pass and drove the ball into the bottom left corner.

Sevilla return to the San Mames on Wednesday to play Athletic in their Copa del Rey semi-final second leg, where they will defend a 2-1 first leg advantage.

Real Madrid Vs Real Betis 6-1 Sergio Ramos Goal

Barcelona 1 - 2 Espanyol & Real Madrid 6 - 1 Betis Sévilla

Real scored all their goals in a terrific first half to record a ninth straight league win and they are brimming with confidence for Wednesday's last 16 Champions League match with Liverpool in Madrid.

Barca travel to Lyon on Tuesday for their European clash and will be kicking themselves after the loss to Espanyol, who won at Camp Nou for the first time since 1982.

Old boy Ivan de la Pena, who came through the Barca ranks and played at the club from 1995 to 1998, scored twice to gun down his old club, who had Seydou Keita sent off after 37 minutes.

It was Barca's first defeat since the opening day of the season ending their 22-match unbeaten run and in just a fortnight Real have sliced their lead from 12 points to seven.

Gonzalo Higuain opened the Real scoring in the seventh minute with his 14th goal of the season before Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored twice.
Liverpool needn't worry about Dutch forward Huntelaar scoring against them as UEFA rules forced Real to omit the 20-million-euro signing from Ajax from the Champions League squad with Lass Diarra grabbing the final place.

Captain Raul will be available though, and the veteran striker scored a quick-fire brace (36 min, 42) as Real led 6-1 at the interval.
Ricardo Oliviera, a nine-million-euro signing from Real Zaragoza, had pulled a goal back on the half hour mark for Betis and it was the first goal Real had conceded in five league matches.

Sergio Ramos completed the first half rout and there were no more goals in the second half as Real eased off to save energy for the Liverpool showdown.

Barca have been cruising for most of this season but have hit a rocky patch with the Betis draw followed up by defeat to Espanyol.

Thierry Henry spurned a great chance after 13 minutes heading over from close range after Lionel Messi's great cross.

It was a fast-paced match and on 37 minutes Keita was red-carded for a late tackle on Moises Hurtado giving Barca an uphill task.

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola was furious about the decision while Keita looked stunned - probably expecting a yellow card rather than a red.

Five minutes into the second half it got worse for Barca when old boy de la Pena headed the visitors in front.

The 32-year-old then scored again five minutes later with a terrific chip to stun the home fans.

Yaya Toure gave Barca hope with a 62nd-minute strike but Espanyol held on to triumph in a heated game which produced ten yellow cards and one red.

For Espanyol it was a first victory since the beginning of November and they move off the foot of the table with Numancia taking their place.

Sporting Gijón vs Real Madrid 0-4 HIGHLIGHTS

Sporting Gijon 0 - 4 Real Madrid & More Results

The leaders were held 2-2 away to Real Betis on Saturday and the champions took full advantage as Raul scored twice and Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Marcelo added one apiece to make short work of their hosts.

Raul set a new scoring record for the nine-times European champions, surpassing Alfredo di Stefano's tally by two to move on to 309 goals.

Atletico Madrid host local rivals Getafe later on Sunday.

Real Madrid were without the injured Arjen Robben at El Molinon but his absence was quickly forgotten as Raul stroked in Sergio Ramos's cross after 15 minutes.

Juande Ramos gave new signing Huntelaar a rare start and the Dutch striker returned the favour with his debut goal for the club, beating Inaki Lafuente in a one-on-one after a flick-on from Gonzalo Higuain before the break.

Higuain set up the third just after the restart, backheeling to set Marcelo clear on a counter-attack, and the Brazilian international calmly lifted the ball over Lafuente.

Sporting's keeper gifted Raul the fourth when he let Higuain's shot squirm through his legs for a simple tap-in 14 minutes from time, and the home side's best chance came when David Barral lashed a shot against the post at the end.

Espanyol 0-2 Sevilla

Bottom club Espanyol's battling performance was undone after Milan Smiljanic was sent off in the 64th minute, leaving new coach Mauricio Pochettino still without a win.

Sevilla had been denied by the woodwork twice before Jesus Navas crossed for Frederic Kanoute to score in the 84th minute.

Navas set up Kanoute again in time added on as Sevilla went third above Valencia.

Racing Santander 1-1 Villarreal

Villarreal's inconsistent away form continued in Santander as they failed to profit from a Racing side short on confidence at home.

Serbia striker Nikola Zigic headed Racing in front in the 24th minute, although replays showed he had been in an offside position.

Villarreal levelled with a superb finish from Santi Cazorla after a well-worked corner move just before the break.

Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Recreativo

Copa del Rey semi-finalists Bilbao came from behind to preserve their three-month unbeaten record at San Mames.

Recre took the lead when Javier Camunas set up Aitor in the 33rd minute. Bilbao, who missed injured striker Fernando Llorente, levelled when Javi Martinez bundled in at a free-kick just after the restart

Numancia 0-1 Mallorca

Mallorca climbed off the foot of the standings and condemned fellow strugglers Numancia to their fifth consecutive defeat.

Aritz Aduriz scored the only goal, volleying in Juan Arango's cross after 21 minutes, although Numancia hit the crossbar as they pushed for an equaliser in the second half.

Almeria 3-2 Valladolid

Almeria were down to nine men when they completed their comeback to win 3-2 from 2-0 down, Alvaro Negredo lobbing the keeper in the 78th minute.

Valladolid took the lead with a great Pedro Leon free-kick and doubled it when Henok Goitom netted a scrappy effort in the 22nd.

Albert Crusat pulled one back in the 61st, just before team-mate Bruno Saltor was sent off.

Kalu Uche rose to head the equaliser in the 70th, and seven minutes later was also sent off. Valladolid had defender Nano red-carded in the 81st.

Real Betis 2 - 2 Barcelona

Mark Gonzalez and Juan Melli put the hosts ahead but Barca fought back through a brace from Samuel Eto'o and were denied victory by some inspired goalkeeping by Ricardo, although Betis too had chances to score more.

Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola took the risk of leaving Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry on the bench and it appeared to backfire when Betis went 2-0 up within 25 minutes.

Defender Melli headed the hosts in front with a powerful header from a corner on 19 minutes, although he was effectively unmarked with Carlos Busquets struggling to get across to challenge him in time.

Seven minutes later former Liverpool winger Gonzalez doubled their lead when Sergio Garcia found him free at the far post, so free that he had time to let the ball bounce off his chest before he rifled a low finish into the bottom right.

Neither goal would have been prevented by Messi or Henry, but their absence was notable by the lack of a decent final ball or forward support to Eto'o.

Barca woke up after going two down but they could not match their possession with a cutting edge and almost conceded more with Achille Emana firing over from close range after good work from Ricardo Oliveira.

Andres Iniesta was the key man and he created two opportunities single-handed through mazy dribbles down the left: two of these runs forced Ricardo into action at the near post while one saw defender Lima deny Eto'o with a desperate challenge.

The final of these runs reaped dividends just before half-time, when Juande clumsily brought Iniesta down in the area. Eto'o's penalty was saved by Ricardo but the Cameroon man made no mistake with the follow-up to make it 2-1 going into the dressing rooms.

The second half was equally entertaining.

Oliveira had what would have been a brilliant breakaway goal disallowed when he strayed just offside; Barca almost equalised from the subsequent counter but Eto'o could only poke wide when he raced clean through before Betis saw a third denied by Victor Valdes after Emana raced on to Oliveira's flick-on.

Barcelona vs Sporting Gijón HIGHLIGHTS

Barcelona 3 - 1 Sporting Gijon

Samuel Eto'o scored twice as Barcelona beat Sporting Gijon 3-1 at Camp Nou on Sunday to re-establish their 12-point advantage over Real Madrid at the top of the Spanish table.
Eto'o scored in the 23rd and 40th minutes to take his personal tally to 21 for the season with Valencia's David Villa his nearest rival on 17.

Brazilian Dani Alves added a third in the second half as Barcelona eased to their 10th successive league win.

Champions Real notched their seventh win on the spin with a 1-0 triumph over Racing Santander 24 hours earlier but they were jeered off by their own fans for clinging to the slender lead rather than going for a second goal.

Coach Pep Guardiola reshuffled the Barcelona backline with central defenders Rafael Marquez and Gerard Pique, called into the Spain squad for Wednesday's friendly with England, both suspended.
Carles Puyol returned from injury and Uruguayan international Martin Caceres, a 16.5 million euro signing from Villarreal, had a rare start in central defence.

Caceres had a quiet night as Barcelona had Sporting on the back foot from the start and deservedly took the lead on 23 minutes.

Sporting had a corner but when the ball was cleared the hosts launched a lightning quick counter-attack with Andres Iniesta carrying the ball at pace before feeding Thierry Henry who crossed for Eto'o to tap in.

It was Barcelona's 100th goal this season in all competitions but they weren't resting on their laurels as Eto'o scored again shortly before half-time.

Picking up a Lionel Messi pass, Eto'o jinked inside before smashing his effort into the corner.

Alves made it 3-0 with a great solo goal before Gijon pulled one back.

Eto'o was denied a hat-trick by the post while Henry could have got three himself after spurning several chances.

Real Madrid 1 - 0 Racing Santander "Goal Higuain"

Real Madrid had Gonzalo Higuain's 49th minute winner to thank for a 1-0 win over Racing Santander on Saturday but the Spanish giants' seventh successive league win did little to appease the woes of their fans.

Argentine Higuain netted the decisive goal shortly after the restart and Real were made to sweat for the remainder as they awaited the final whistle at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The reigning champions held on to close to within nine points of runaway leaders Barcelona, but another 1-0 win - an emerging habit under new coach Juande Ramos - could not stop the jeers, or fans heading for the exits early.

The grumbling is likely to grow louder in Madrid if a 10th successive league win for Barcelona, who host Sporting Gijon on Sunday, restores their advantage over Real to 12 points.

Iker Casillas made history making his 454th appearance to equal Paco Buya's club record in the Real goal and he had little to do as Real controlled proceedings without making the breakthrough.
Pepe cynically pushed Perreira to the floor before Gabriel Heinze and Fabio Cannavaro hacked the grounded striker.

The referee waved play on and livid Racing players encircled Heinze while words were also exchanged as both sets of players trudged off at half-time.

Racing then conceded four minutes into the second half with Higuain cutting inside before finishing with aplomb.

The Argentine should have scored again shortly afterwards but custodian Antonio Martinez somehow saved the shot with an oustretched foot.

Real's new French signing Julien Faubert, recruited on loan from West Ham, made his debut just after the hour mark coming on for Arjen Robben who seemed less than happy about the decision.

Racing went close to equalising and Cannavaro had to clear off the goal line to prevent an own goal from Pepe.

Nicola Zigic headed over a great chance for Racing and angry Real fans flocked out of the turnstiles with several minutes remaining.

Racing Santander 1 - 2 Barcelona

Racing gave the visitors little space and took the lead after the restart when Nikola Zigic scored from the penalty spot.

Messi's introduction galvanised Barca and the Argentine stole in to score the equaliser within 10 minutes of coming on the pitch, and grabbed the winner nine minutes from time.

Barca, who had Rafael Marquez and Gerard Pique sent off in the closing minutes, restored their 12-point lead at the top of the table.

Champions Real Madrid, who beat Numancia 2-0 away on Saturday, are second.

Third-placed Sevilla, on 38 points, visit Sporting Gijon later on Sunday when Valencia, in fourth, host Almeria.

Villarreal stay fifth with 34 points after falling 3-0 away to Deportivo Coruna, who climbed to sixth.

Numancia 0 - 2 Real Madrid & Atheletic Bilbao 3 - 2 Malaga

Two quick goals at the start of the second half settled the issue, the Dutch winger helping set up Raul for his 307th Real goal, equalling the club record held by Alfredo di Stefano.

Robben then bagged the second with a trademark run in off the right flank and a shot from the edge of the area.

Juande Ramos's side strengthened their hold on second place on 44 points but are still nine short of leaders Barcelona who visit Racing Santander on Sunday.

Third-placed Sevilla, on 38 points, travel to Sporting Gijon on Sunday.

Numancia's Javier del Pino headed against the post as the home side kept Real at bay in a chilly first-half, with Robben closely marshalled.

However, three minutes into the second period it was Robben's run that created the opening for Raul to slot in Gonzalo Higuain's parried shot.

With Numancia still reeling, Robben raced through to score the second in the 56th and the visitors comfortably maintained their advantage despite Fernando Gago being sent off for picking up his second yellow card near the end.

Atheletic Bilbao 3-2 Malaga

Athletic Bilbao came from behind to beat Malaga 3-2 in a pulsating Primera Liga encounter on Saturday.

Promoted Malaga twice took the lead at San Mames through Albert Luque and Lolo and were close to breaking into the Champions League places.

But Bilbao's in-form striker Fernando Llorente set up the first equaliser for Fran Yeste just before the break.

Llorente then powered in a spectacular goal in the 71st minute before Markel Susaeta rose to head the winner four minutes from time.

Malaga stay seventh with 32 points, three ahead of ninth-placed Bilbao, who travel to Sevilla in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final on Wednesday.

Barcelona 3 - 2 Espanyol & Sévilla 2 - 1 Valencia "Copa Del Rey"

Barcelona 3-2 Espanyol

Barcelona almost blew a three-goal lead at the Nou Camp, going through to the last four of the Copa del Rey despite an incredible fightback from neighbours Espanyol.

Barca looked to be cruising to a characteristic demolition of lesser opposition when teenage sensation Bojan Krkic scored either side of the break, and when Gerard Pique added a third on 56 minutes it allseemed to be over for Espanyol.

But a goal from Ferran Corominas just two minutes later gave them hope: an unusual shot hit into the ground that ended up spinning up and over a group of players into the Barcelona net.

And when Jose Callejon scored with an utterly superb 35-yard strike ten minutes later it seemed that the impossible comeback was on.

Espanyol kept pushing madly for the equaliser that would give them an away-goals win, whilst Barcelona threw on previosly absent stars Samuel Eto'o and Andres Iniesta as they sought to re-establish their comfort zone.

In the end, however, neither side could add to the tally. Espanyol's brave effort earned them rousing applause from all sections of the crowd, while Barcelona will cross themselves and look forward to their semi-final clash against Mallorca.

Sevilla 2-1 Valencia

Sebastien Squillaci scored a last-minute winner to give 2007 champions Sevilla a 2-1 victory over holders Valencia in the second leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final and a place in the last four.

After last week's first leg at the Mestalla ended 3-2, Valencia looked to be cruising when a header from captain Carlos Marchena put them in front in the eighth minute in Seville, opening up a 4-2 aggregate lead.

But Frederic Kanoute equalised before the break when his header from a Ndri Romaric freekick beat Cesar Sanchez to make it 1-1 on the night.

Sevilla missed several chances before Squillaci was in the right place to hook Renato's corner in from close range in the 90th minute and set up a last-four clash on away goals against Athletic Bilbao.

The semi-finals take place over two legs, with the first leg next week and the second in the first week of March.

Real Madrid 1 - 0 Deportivo La Coruna & More Results

The 40th-minute glancing header edged Raul closer to Alfredo di Stefano's all-time record of 214 Liga goals, while the Madrid native is now two shy of the same man's tally of 307 in all competitions.

The winning touch came from a quickly-taken set piece, as recent signing Lassana Diarra swung over an excellent left-wing cross that Raul flicked past Gustavo Munua with his right ear.

It was a fiercely-contested match, with the competitiveness spilling over on several occasions.

Depor midfielder Lafita was incredibly fortunate to stay on the pitch when he launched into a high, late and dangerous tackle that could have snapped Fernando Gago's standing leg, one of several rough challenges from both sides.

New coach Juande Ramos lost his first match in charge 2-0 at Barcelona, but his side have since taken maximum points domestically and have only conceded once in five matches.

They hedged their bets though, as the visitors were impressive both in attack and defence.

Depor were unlucky not to score when left-back Filipe hit the top of the bar with a long-range shot, while Iker Casillas made a spectacular save from Lafita.

Madrid, meanwhile, looked at their most dangerous on the counter-attack with the reborn Arjen Robben marauding on both flanks.

The Dutchman is in the form of his life and created chances for Gonzalo Higuain, Raul, Wesley Sniejder and Rafael van der Vaart and almost scored himself with a superb solo run at the end that was foiled by Munua in the Depor goal.

Miguel Angel Lotina's side welcomed back playmaker Juan Carlos Valeron, who started for the first time in 18 months after a three-year injury hell that almost saw him retire.

Valeron, 33, looked every bit the player he was in the early part of the Noughties, with some deft touches and crafty passing, and although he tired towards the end his return will be a big boost to Depor, who themselves are back in the top half of the table after a difficult few seasons.

Madrid stay second after the win but are still 12 points behind leaders Barcelona, while Deportivo remain eighth.

Sevilla 0 Racing Santander 2

Sevilla spurned the chance to go second in La Liga when they slumped to a 2-0 home defeat to Racing Santander despite the visitors being down to 10 men for an hour of the match.

The hosts went 1-0 down when defender Cesar Navas's struck from close-range after Nikola Zigic rose to head a Pedro Munitis free-kick against the crossbar.

Oscar Serrano was harshly shown a straight red card just after the half-hour mark for a trip on Adriano.

But Manuel Jimenez's side failed to take advantage and conceded one minute after the second-half restart when Frederic Kanoute diverted a Munitis free-kick past his own goalkeeper Andres Palop.

Sevilla dominated possession in the second half but were unable to create enough clear-cut openings.

When they did have chances, Diego Capel and Luis Fabiano fluffed their lines, while Tono made a great save from Finnish substitute Teemu Pukki.

The defeat leaves Sevilla in third, while Racing move up to ninth.

- - - -

Mallorca 3 Valencia 1

Mallorca were led to their first league victory since late October by midfielder Jurado.

The 22-year-old pounced on a loose ball for the first after eight minutes and was brought down for a penalty which Jose Luis Marti scored in the 41st.

A minute later, Jurado broke away for the third.

Vicente pulled one back for Valencia in the second half.

- - - -

Almeria 2 Athletic Bilbao 1

Hugo Sanchez's second league win at the helm of Almeria was sealed with two first-half goals.

Juanma Ortiz headed the opener after 26 minutes and Kalu Uche swivelled to score the second before the break. Joseba del Olmo broke away to score for the visitors midway through the second half.

- - - -

Getafe 5 Sporting Gijon 1

Sporting's new signing Inaki Lafuente had a debut to forget in goal as Getafe ended a run of four straight defeats in style.

Striker Roberto Soldado made the most of an error to score Getafe's opener, and Esteban Granero looped in a shot from distance soon after.

David Barral's solo effort put Sporting back in the game just before the break but Soldado scored again, Ikechukwu Uche made it 4-1, and Soldado completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot.

- - - -

Malaga 1 Atletico Madrid 1

Atletico are still seeking their first win of 2009 after coming from behind to draw with the team just below them in the standings.

Apono's long-range shot skimmed off a defender to put Malaga ahead in the 22nd minute, but John Heitinga levelled at a free-kick just before halftime.

- - - -

Valladolid 1 Espanyol 0

New Espanyol coach Mauricio Pochettino was unable to crown his league debut at the helm with a victory.

Valladolid's Henok Goitom nudged in Jonathan Sesma's shot after 42 minutes, but Sergio Sanchez levelled with a header from a corner 11 minutes from time.

- - - -

Recreativo 1 Real Betis 0

Recre's mini-revival continued with a fourth game unbeaten at the expense of Andalucian rivals Betis.

Javier Camunas scored the winner 18 minutes from time with a superb glancing header.

Barcelona 4 - 1 Numancia

A brace from the irresistible Lionel Messi and one apiece from Samuel Eto'o and Thierry Henry saw off a plucky Numancia side who had a goal controversially disallowed and pulled a goal back to make it 2-1 on the hour mark.

The visitors had captain Cesar Palacios dismissed late on for a second yellow card.

Barcelona dominated the match but, despite chances for Daniel Alves, Gerard Pique, Xavi, Messi and Andres Iniesta, it was goalless at half-time and could even have been 1-0 to Numancia had Javier Del Pino's 18th-minute header not been harshly ruled out for an alleged push on Iniesta.

Alves hit the top of the bar with an audacious lob, Pique drilled wide from the edge of the box, Xavi and Messi had consecutive shots bravely blocked by Sergio Ortega and Boris, Juan Pablo denied Iniesta with a wonderful stoop and Juanra denied Messi again with a superb last-ditch tackle.

But somehow it was goalless at the break, although parity did not last very long as Messi had the simplest of finishes three minutes after the restart thanks to great work from the marauding Alves.

It was 2-0 three minutes later when Iniesta's pass ricocheted into the path of Eto'o, who held off Ortega and finished past Juan Pablo.

Jose Barkero's wonderful free-kick gave the visitors hope, but Henry sent a low deflected shot off the foot of Palacios 10 minutes later and Messi sealed the rout with a tap-in after his initial shot was blocked by Juan Pablo, who did not deserve to be beaten four times.

By the end it could have been six or seven, with Messi forcing another good save from Juan Pablo and hitting the crossbar, while Eto'o missed two clear-cut chances to draw level with Messi on 22 goals scored in all competitions.

Real Madrid can close the gap to 12 points if they beat Deportivo but Barcelona - with 53 points from a possible 60 and an average of over three goals a game - will almost certainly win the title.

Real Madrid 3 - 1 Osasuna

Osasuna went ahead through Javad Nekounam's 20th-minute header but Madrid fought back through second-half goals by Sergio Ramos, Gonzalo Higuain and Arjen Robben.

But the win was soured by two terrible refereeing decisions that saw the unfortunate Juanfran sent off when Alfonso Perez Burrull incorrectly booked him twice for diving when he should have awarded penalties.

The first booking came on 13 minutes when Fernando Gago clumsily slid in on the Osasuna winger, taking him down first with his thigh and then with a trailing leg.

Gago got nowhere near the ball and it should have been a spot-kick.

The second decision was yet more woeful. With less than 10 minutes remaining and with Madrid leading 2-1, Pepe clearly trod on Juanfran's foot as he burst into the box and prepared to pull the trigger.

But inexplicably Burrull blew for simulation and sent the distraught Juanfran to an early bath.

The defeat was even more frustrating for Osasuna because two of the goals came from goalkeeping howlers by Roberto.

Sergio Ramos equalised four minutes after the second-half restart when he surged forward from right-back and released a low drive that Roberto allowed to squirm through his hands.

Higuain put the hosts in front with a tap-in after a clever give-and-go with Robben while, in injury-time, Robben added a gloss on the win when his own daisy-cutter was mis-handled by the poor Roberto.

The result puts Madrid in second place, level on points with Sevilla but with a superior goal difference, while Osasuna remain at the foot of the standings.

Barcelona 5 - 0 Deportivo La Coruna

Lionel Messi opened the scoring on 21 minutes before Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto'o added two more before half time, and then Henry and Eto'o both netted again in the final ten minutes to underline an emphatic victory.

In a move that set the tone for the match, Barcelona very nearly opened the scoring inside the first thirty seconds. Messi got on to a ball played out to him on the right flank, and fired in a cross to the waiting - and unmarked - Henry, whose shot sent Aranzubia the wrong way, but clipped the keeper's trailing feet and flew to safety.

Barcelona charged ceaselessly from then on, coming at their visitors with successive attacks that continually threatened to open up the defence. This rampant attacking was interrupted by only very rare counter-attacks from the visitors, most of which relied on speculative long balls and never really threatened.

The home side's breakthrough was just a matter of time, and it was Messi who provided it. The Argentine outpaced three defenders at full tilt before placing an incredible left-foot shot back across his own path, wrong-footing the keeper by five or six yards and clipping in off the right-hand post.

It took just six minutes for Barca to double their lead, with right-back Dani Alves - who was in blistering form throughout - providing the inch-perfect cross that Henry finished off with a trademark bullet header.

Fifteen minutes after that Eto'o turned the match into a rout as he was on-hand to mop up Seydou Keita's diving header. The Cameroon striker thumped the ball home from three yards, dismaying the visitors but making up for an earlier chance that he had squandered.

The second half was a far more sedate affair, with Barcelona relaxing in the knowledge that the game was won and Deportivo manfully trying to get back in to things.

Yet the visitors just never had the firepower to create a chance, and only when Barcelona came back to life in the final quarter of an hour did it look as if the scoreline would change.

First, substitute Iniesta hit a brilliant volley from Henry's cross that drew the best save of the match from Aranzubia on 72 minutes.

Then, on 83 minutes, Henry scored the fourth after Xavi rounded the keeper and passed for the Frenchman to fire into the unguarded net.

With four minutes left Carlos Puyol was through on Aranzubia and about to make it five, but was downed by the keeper to elicit a red card and a penalty kick. Eto'o stepped up to score an audacious spot kick that made it 5-0 and completed Deportivo's miserable visit to the Nou Camp with a scoreline that, if anything, still flattered the visitors.

Osasuna 2 - 3 Barcelona

Los Cules had trailed 2-1 going into the final 10 minutes of the game after Miguel Flano and Walter Pandiani's second-half strikes overhauled Samuel Eto'o's 44th-minute opener.

But Xavi's low drive and Messi's spectacular shot from the edge of the area gave Barca two goals in five minutes and a sixth consecutive win in La Liga.

The match was played in freezing conditions and it was not the classic that the scoreline would suggest.

Osasuna mostly chased their illustrious visitors and were fortunate to only be one goal down at half-time.

Thierry Henry went close when two of his shots were saved by back-up keeper Roberto after marauding runs on the left, while Messi hit the woodwork with a low, angled finish after a mazy dribble.

Barca finally went in front when great play on the left by Messi set up Eto'o, who drilled low into the bottom left from the edge of the box.

Home boss Jose Antonio Camacho brought on Josetxo for the whole of the second half and Javier Portillo just before the hour mark.

The changes seemed to work as on 62 minutes Miguel Flano - who at 5'9 is no giant for a defender - leapt well to arc a looping header over Victor Valdes from a right-wing corner.

Four minutes later Messi was denied by Roberto, who saved well from the Argentine after he initially spilled a long-range shot from Eto'o.

There was a moment of controversy when Osasuna played on and almost scored after Messi went down, although replays later suggested that he feigned injury and referee Jose Antonio Teixeira Vitienes had already instructed them to continue playing.

Osasuna took an unlikely lead when Jaroslav Plasil found Juanfran on the right and his low cross was prodded past Valdes by arch-poacher Pandiani for his third goal in as many games since recovering from injury.

Barcelona were frustrated and emotions almost spilled over a second time when the referee halted a Dani Alves counter-attack following Plasil's collision with Valdes, fearing a head injury to the Czech midfielder.

Pep Guardiola's men managed to challenge their aggression effectively, though.

Alves went on another run down the right and drilled a low ball to the unmarked Xavi, who fired past the helpless Roberto to equalise with nine minutes left on the clock.

And on 85 minutes Messi unleashed his winner from the edge of the box after he was allowed to cut in from the right on to his preferred left foot.

Mallorca 0 - 3 Real Madrid

Robben scored after a third-minute breakaway while Raul finished from close range ten minutes later.

Defender Sergio Ramos sealed the win with a spectacular volley mid-way through the second half.

Madrid move ahead of Sevilla on goal difference.

A frantic opening period saw Mallorca go close twice, through Jose Luis Marti's cross-shot and a Enrique Corrales header from the subsequent corner.

But Real went ahead through the counter-attack that followed. Gonzalo Higuain - returning to the starting line-up after injury - played a superb ball out wide to Robben, who raced free of the home defence, cut inside and slid a cool finish between the legs of Dudu Aouate.

All that happened within the first three minutes, and Madrid doubled their lead soon afterwards when Raul backheeled into an empty next after Higuain bustled into space on the right and cut a low cross past the stranded Dudu.

Higuain was denied a goal to add to his two assists when Dudu smothered at his feet after Robben again tore Mallorca apart down the right, as Madrid dominated possession and created all the chances.

Mallorca gave the visitors a scare four minutes before half-time when a corner caused problems and saw Webo fire over, but Los Merengues were worth their two-goal advantage at the break.

Juan Arango should have pulled one back for the hosts on 53 minutes but could only put the ball over from close range after Pierre Webo's flick-on.

But Madrid were by far the better side and, moments after Robben hit the post with a move identical to his opener, Juande Ramos's side went 3-0 up when Ramos sent a sweet low volley through Dudu's legs after a Fernando Gago floated a superb crossfield pass to the right wing.

Barcelona 3 - 1 Athlético Madrid & Copa Del Rey

The Argentine forward, playing for the first time since the Christmas break, also hit the crossbar in a display so impressive that even many of the Atletico fans stood and applauded him when he was replaced near the end.

Barcelona made most of the early running at a chilly Vicente Calderon despite resting key players from the team who beat Real Mallorca at the weekend, including Xavi and Samuel Eto'o.

A deft piece of skill from Daniel Alves unlocked the Atletico defence for Messi's opening goal on 12 minutes.

The Argentine international played the ball inside and Alves sent a clever backheel through for him to run on and place a low shot past Gregory Coupet.

Atletico had to play with 10 men for most of the second half after defender John Heitinga felled Messi in the penalty area as he was racing to meet an Alves cross.

The referee showed the Dutchman a red card and Messi sent Coupet the wrong way to double Barca's lead.

Atletico substitute Tomas Ujfalusi pulled a goal back just over 10 minutes later with a header from Simao Sabrosa's corner, but the margin was restored when Messi completed his hat-trick on 80 minutes.

Copa del Rey last-16 fixtures - Wednesday

Sporting Gijon v Real Valladolid

Sevilla v Deportivo Coruna

Racing Santander v Valencia

Real Union de Irun v Real Betis

Ejido v Espanyol

Copa del Rey last-16 fixtures - Thursday

Osasuna v Athletic Bilbao

Real Mallorca v Almeria

Real Madrid 1 - 0 Villareal & More Results

The Netherlands winger came inside from the right and shimmied across the penalty area past several challenges before curling a hard shot into the far top corner, leaving Diego Lopez with no chance.

Former Portsmouth midfielder Lassana Diarra and Netherlands striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar made their debuts for Real but both were substituted in the second half after playing small roles in the win.

With both teams on 29 points before the start of the match, a win for either would have seen them go third behind Valencia, who like leaders Barcelona were winners on Saturday.

There were several chances at either end, with Iker Casillas pulling off a sensational fingertip stop from a close-range Giuseppe Rossi header in the second half.

Sevilla 1-1 Osasuna

Sevilla missed the chance to go back above Real and Valencia into second as Walter Pandiani's 91st-minute equaliser earned Osasuna a 1-1 draw at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

Osasuna were the better side in the first half, but Sevilla took the lead after 50 minutes when Jesus Navas chested down on the edge of the box before firing an unstoppable volley into the far bottom corner.

The edgy home fans saw Fredi Kanoute miss a golden chance with his head in the first half.

The Malian, who had a tee-shirt with the word 'Palestine' written upon it visible under his rain-soaked Sevilla shirt, could have snatched the points when another header four minutes into injury-time was diverted on to the crossbar by visiting goalkeeper Roberto.

Having missed the chance to display his message regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Sevilla remain fourth in the table.

He also denied the creator of that chance, substitute Ariel Ibagaza, with a save low to his left.

Another sub, Joseba Llorente, was prevented from levelling by the Spain shot-stopper after wasting a pair of other chances.

Robben hit the woodwork for Real after 12 minutes, his shot from outside the box after a driving run deflected by a diving Gonzalo Rodriguez on to the bar and over.

Valencia 3 - 1 Atletico Madrid

David Silva returned from long-term injury to inspire Valencia to a victory against Atletico Madrid that takes them into second place in La Liga.

Spain striker David Villa opened the scoring from the spot on 34 minutes before Silva added the second.

Diego Forlan pulled one back from a penalty before half-time, but Silva's second goal of the match, just over 20 minutes from the end, put the result beyond doubt.

A breathless start to the match could have led to three goals in the first five minutes, the best of which was Villa's disallowed goal just 90 seconds into the match. Incredibly, it was the Euro 2008 Golden Boot winner's second decent chance of the game: he won the ball fairly and slotted past Franco in the Atletico goal, but was harshly adjudged to have pushed Heitinga to the floor.

Two minutes later a goalmouth scramble led to another disallowed Valencia goal - this time for offside - and the hectic tempo continued for the first 20 minutes with a succession of clear-cut chances falling for both sides.

Yet for all the attempts the opening goal came from a 34th minute spot kick by Villa, awarded just 60 seconds after Villa was denied a clear penalty for a blatant shoulder charge by Perea. With the ball coming into the area, Valencia midfielder Ruben Baraja performed an extraordinary dive in the penalty box which was inexplicably adjudged to be the result of a foul.

It looked as if the referee was correcting his earlier error, and Villa despatched the penalty into the right corner to give Valencia a deserved lead.

Just five minutes later, Valencia's right-back Luis Miguel played a beautiful pass to release Silva, the playmaker finding just enough space to control the ball and flick a brilliant shot into the far corner from the outside of his left foot.

But as half-time beckoned the referee once again took centre stage, awarding another soft penalty at the other end of the pitch for the contact by Baraja on Sergio Aguero. Forlan scored from the spot to reduce the deficit to one.

Barcelona 3 - 1 Mallorca

Barcelona take a 13-point lead in La Liga after eventually getting past a solid Mallorca side who looked as if they would give their hosts a scare.

The visitors might be struggling to stay above the relegation zone in the league, but for long periods they defied their illustrious hosts. And it was Mallorca who were first to score in the Nou Camp, a long ball on the counter-attack finding Aritz Aduriz on fifteen minutes.

Another quarter of an hour later, however, Thierry Henry's brilliant individual skill levelled things as Barcelona took control of the game.

Yet the home side couldn't find a way through until Eidur Gudjohnsen and Iniesta beat the offside trap to score with 15 minutes left. Iniesta's finish put an end to the Mallorcans' dream of leaving the Nou Camp with a point before an injury-time goal from Yaya Toure closed things off for good.

The match got off to such a slow start that you began to wonder if the Christmas celebrations had not caught up on Barca's team of superstars. Though they kept the ball as efficiently as usual, they did precious little with it and instead seemed to be assuming that they would ease past their visitors with a minimum of effort.

Yet after just a quarter of an hour Mallorca managed to tear up that comfortable script, as a long ball through found Aduriz. His pace took him clear of the Barca defence, leaving him free to lob Victor Valdes from the edge of the box.

After that, Barca threw everything at Mallorca, with Yaya Toure coming within a whisker of finishing a brilliant build-up before Henry's magnificent finish.

Carles Puyol flicked the ball on from a corner, and though it seemed like it would fly past Henry the Frenchman flung his foot high to control the ball before turning and half-volleying it back across the face of the goal and in off the far post.

After that Barcelona controlled the game for long periods, though Mallorca's defence seemed to be holding solid.