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.
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.