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.