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La Liga Week 18 Review

Málaga 1 - 1 Athletic Bilbao
Biblao stole a point in the last minute of play. Both teams were looking to excite their fans after disappointing them in the Cup, but the game wasn't very entertaining, to be honest. The hosts were better team in the game but scoring opportunities were few and far between. Debutant Martin Demichelis headed Málaga in front from a corner (81') and it appeared it would be enough for the victory, but Athletic's Javi Martínez leveled the score with a powerful header (90+3').

Real Sociedad 2 - 3 Sevilla FC
Sevilla managed to overcome two deficits to earn their fourth straight victory. It was an open game and both teams had their fair share of chances. Sociedad drew first blood through Diego Rivas who put a shot just inside the post (23'). Just a minute latter it was a level again as Frederic Kanouté volleyed it home. Joseba Llorente put the hosts back in front with a breakaway goal (43'). It didn't look good for Sevilla's winning run but then Alvaro Negredo orchestrated a comeback. Firstly he assisted on Luis Fabiano's goal (63') and then he picked out Kanouté for the winner (65').

Deportivo La Coruña 0 - 4 FC Barcelona
Barcelona continue their winning run with an impressive victory at Riazor. Guardiola decided to rest some key players but it made no difference; Barca still dominated possession. David Villa started the scoring when he squeaked a shot under Aranzubia (26'). Messi doubled the lead with a brilliant free kick from 25 yards out (52'). Then Iniesta added one of his own when he unleashed a low shot from the edge of the box (80') and just over a minute later Pedro scored the final goal of the match with Messi getting the second assists of the night.

Osasuna 0 - 0 Getafe CF
Osasuna somehow managed to hold Getafe to a goalless draw. Geta started strong and had some good chances, but nothing materialized. The home side was pushed in their defensive zone for the most part of the game and threatened only a couple of times. Ricardo was the main reason this game ended scoreless, he made numerous good saves and was a calming presence in the defense.

RCD Espanyol 4 - 0 Real Zaragoza
Espanyol completely outplayed and deservedly won over Zaragoza. The Blanquiblaus never gave the visitors a fighting chance. Osvaldo opened the floodgates when he deflected in a cross (8'). Luis Garcia converted a spot-kick that was awarded for a foul inside the area (30'). Espanyol fans had another reason to cheer only four minutes later, this time Álvaro Vásquez put a powerful shot past the keeper. Things settled down in the second half and only one goal was scored; Sergio Garcia pounced on a good pass and was left with a simple finish (87').

Racing Santader 1 - 1 Sporting Gijón
A slow developing game ended with a dramatic finish. It took almost 20 minutes for the first scoring chance of the game, but soon after the first goal of the game was scored. Arnolin Gregory redirected the ball into his own net to give the host the lead (30'). That was a wake up call for the Asturians as they started attacking more often and only a very good performance by Toño kept Racing in front for (almost) the whole game. In the dying minutes of the game the home defense took some time off and it was all Sporting needed to level the score. Rafael Sastre was on the receiving end of a cross and he put it out of reach of Toño (90+1').

RCD Mallorca 4 - 1 UD Almería
This was the third meeting between the teams in the last four games and Malaga finally managed to win. The first goal of the match was a scrappy one; after numerous deflections in the box Ivan Ramis cashed in (12'). Víctor Casadesús made it two with a nice shot past Alves (37'). In the second half Albert Crusat gave the visitors some hope with a fantastic 20 yard shot (66'), but the hope was short lived. Only a minute later Emilio Nsue restored the two goal lead with a shot from the edge. Michael Pereira scored the last of the game with a very impressive individual effort.

Real Madrid 4 - 2 Villarreal CF
Cristiano Ronaldo led the charge against a highly motivated Villarreal team. The yellow submarine was the better team in first half, but sadly for them they only managed to end the half with a two all draw. Cani started the scoring with a nice chip over Iker Casillas (7'), but only two minutes later it was all level again as Ronaldo was left all alone in front of Diego López. Villarreal again took the lead in the 18th minute, this time Marco Rubén flicked one over Casillas. On the final play of the half Ronaldo headed one in after another defensive breakdown by Villarreal. In the second half Real dominated and they were rewarded when Ronaldo completed his hat-trick after a big mistake by Diego López (79'). Everything was decided when Kaká scored on a quick counterattack (82').

Levante UD 0 - 1 Valencia CF
Valencia continued their recent trend of winning games in the final minutes. The Valencia derby started of very nervy with many fouls early on. Levante was the better team in the first part of the opening half, but it was Valencia who missed the best chance. They were awarded a penalty kick (for a foul that was made outside of the box), but Juan Manuel Mata shot it over the net. The game calmed down after that miss and Valencia took control. Mata hit the woodwork twice before he finally managed to beat Manolo Reina with a low shot. Replays showed that the Spaniard was offside at the time of the pass, bad break for Levante who put in a good performance against a very good team.

Hércules CF 4 - 1 Atlético Madrid
Hércules displayed a very impressive performance against a seemingly uninspired Atlético. The hosts had the game all but decided at half time after putting four past De Gea. Tote started the onslaught with a tight angle shot (11'), a shot that really should have been stopped. Nalson Valdez added to the lead with a curling effort from the edge of the box (23'). De Gea got beaten again nine minutes later when Olivier Thomert powered a header out of his reach. The halftime score was achieved when David Trezeguet first-timed a cross into the bottom corner. The second half treated fans to more shots against the post than in the net. José Reyes scored the consolidation goal as he capitalized on a rare Herculés defensive mistake (88').

Well the scoring finally picked up again, 34 times keepers had to pick up the ball from their net, once from a successfully taken penalty kick.

Only one player was sent off and even he wasn't on the field when he got the red card. Cani was sent to the stands from the bench after being offended by Mourinho who celebrated a goal in front of the Villarreal substitutes.

Herculés continues to be one of the nicest surprises of the first half of the seasons. They added another big team to their growing list of collected scalps and it looks like they will have no problem staying out of the relegation zone.

GP W D L +/- Pts
1 same FC Barcelona 18 16 1 1 47
2 same Real Madrid 18 15 2 1 30
3 same Villarreal CF 18 11 3 4
16 36
4 same Valencia CF
18 10
4 4 7
5 same RCD Espanyol 18 10
1 7
6 same

Atlético Madrid

18 8 3 7
7 same Getafe CF 18 8 3
7 3
8 up RCD Mallorca 18 8
9 down Athletic Bilbao
18 8
-3 26
10 same Sevilla FC
18 8
2 8
-4 26
11 up Hércules CF
18 6 4 8
-4 22
12 down Real Sociedad 18 7
-6 22
13 down Deportivo La Coruña 18 5 6
-9 21
14 same Racing Santander 18 5 4
8 -10 20
15 same Osasuna 18 4 6
8 -6 18
16 same Málaga CF 18 5
11 -14 17
17 same Levante UD
18 4 3 11 -10 15
18 up Sporting Gijón 18 2 7
-12 13
19 same UD Almería 18 2 7
-15 13
20 down Real Zaragoza
18 2 7
9 -16 13

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