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La Liga Week 29 Review: Villarreal Leapfrog Valencia, Málaga Shock Espanyol

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RCD Mallorca 1 - 0 Real Zaragoza
Mallorca were the better team throughout the game and they thoroughly deserved the hard fought win. The islanders were able to prepare very good scoring chances, but they were left frustrated by Antonio Doblas. On the other side they limited Zaragoza to long range tries that never really threatened Dudu Aouate. In the 64th minute the game took a dramatic turn with the sending off of Doblas for handling the ball outside of the box. Jonathan De Guzman buried the free kick just inside of the far post. The visitors almost snatched the late equalizer, but Nobrega Braulio's shot bounced off the crossbar.

FC Barcelona 2 - 1 Getafe CF
With the win Barcelona broke the club record for the longest unbeaten run, it now stands at 27 games. Dani Alves put Barca in the lead with a stunning 22 yard volley (16'). At the break Barcelona should have had a more comfortable lead, but as usual, they were very wasteful. Five minutes into the second half Bojan Krkić doubled the lead with a deflected shot. David Villa had several chances to put the game out of reach, but the striker wasn't on his game and the visitors almost made Barcelona pay for all the misses. They gave Barcelona fans a scare when Manu del Moral volley it to the back of the net in the 88h minute, but time ran out for anything more.

Atlético Madrid 1 - 2 Real Madrid
Real Madrid continued their dominance in El Derbi Madrileño and extended their unbeaten stretch against their city rivals to 19 games. The red-hot Karim Benzema drew first blood when he was sent through and beat David De Gea with a clever little chip (11'). Iker Casillas was then forced to make several good saves to keep Los Blancos in the lead. The opportunity for a positive result for the hosts took a severe blow when Mesut Özil fired a shot just under the bar to extend the lead (32'). At this point Atlético could have given up, but they kept fighting and they were given a glimer of hope when Sergio Agüero put one behind Casillas (86'), but their last-minute shot was stopped by the goalkeeper.

Sporting Gijón 1 - 0 UD Almería
Sporting earned a vital win to boost their hopes of surviving the drop. After securing a point with only nine men against Villarreal they started the game confidently and 13 minutes in they took the lead. Miguel de las Cuevas was the scorer after a game of pinball, but the goal will be remembered for a handball by the striker just before he roofed the ball into the net. The goal stood and it proved to be the game winner despite Almería's best efforts score the tying goal. The visitors best opportunity came when Leonardo Ulloa beat the goalkeeper, but his shot was cleared of the line by Alberto Rivera.

Hércules CF 0 - 4 Osasuna
The struggling Hércules suffered fourth straight loss and ninth in their last eleven games. Osasuna, however, won their third straight game and they did it in brilliant fashion. Ten minutes into the game Javier Camuñas put them in the lead after a bad defensive reaction that left the midfielder with a simple finish. Defender Nélson then scored his first goal for Osasuna, a volley to the unguarded part of the net (35'). Hércules' defending was non existent in this game and it was the main reason Krisztian Vadocz scored with a redirection (61'). Kike Sola extended the lead six minutes later from virtually the same position as Vadocz did.

Racing Santander 2 - 1 Real Sociedad
Real Sociedad's slide continued in Santander and they are now five games without a win. The first half was littered with long range shots, but most of them went wide of the net. However, two minutes before the break Kennedy Bakircioglu picked up the ball 20 yards out and curled it in. Antoine Griezmann volleyed the ball after the interval to tie the game (71'). The exciting game was decided by Tottenham's loanee Giovani Dos Santos, who slid in just in time to redirect a low cross (77'). Toño had a good game in net for Racing as he stopped numerous dangerous attempts by the vistitors' forwards.

Málaga CF 2 - 0 RCD Espanyol
Málaga finally moved out of the cellar of the table, but they still have a long way to go to ensure another year in the Primera División. Man of the Match Rondon scored twice in the opening 30 minutes to earn his team three important points. He put the Andalusians in the lead after some woeful defending that left him with a simple finish (7'). In the 26th minute the striker again took advantage of poor defending. Espanyol improved in the second half, but they never really threaten Wilfredo Caballero.

Deportivo La Coruña 0 - 1 Levante UD
A last minute free kick extended Levante's good form and gave Deportivo players a lot to worry about as they now find themselves just two points outside of the relegation zone. The visitors were slightly better throughout the game and they managed to keep Daniel Aranzubía busy for extended periods of time. On the other side Gustavo Munua wasn't as busy, but he had to be sharp as he also had to make a couple of saves. In the final seconds of normal time Rubén Estrada fired a 30 yard free kick just by Aranzubía who reacted badly to the flight of the ball.

Athletic Bilbao 0 - 1 Villarreal CF
After struggling in La Liga for the past several weeks, Villarreal managed to win in one of the most difficult stadiums, the San Mamés. Athletic, who are also in a bad stretch, suffered their fifth loss in seven games. The first half wasn't very entertaining, with both team focusing on defending and disrupting the oppositions play. The second half was completely different as both team became increasingly dangerous when on the attack. Borja Valero picked out the unmarked Marco Rubén and he powered a header past the outstretched Gorka Irazoz to put the Yellow Submarine in the lead. Later on Irazoz made two superb saves to keep the game close but his teammates couldn't make the most of him impressive efforts.

Valencia CF 0 - 1 Sevilla FC
The struggling Valencia dropped the third of their last four games played and the bad stretch saw them hand over the third place to Villarreal. Los Che will feel they deserved at least a draw as they were the better team and it seemed like every refereeing decision went Sevilla's way. Ivan Rakitić secured the win for the visitors with a powerful left-footed volley (70'). The visitors' goalkeeper Javi Varas deserves credit for preserving the win, with his string of fine saves he kept a clean sheet and by the end of the game he stopped nine shots, most of them were from very good scoring chances.

Recap
After a bad stretch that started with the new year, Hércules sacked Esteban Vigo. Who will be his replacement is still unknown. This is the 7th midseason coaching change, which is one less than at the same day time last season.

This was a very slow goalscoring week as the goalkeeper's only had to pick up the ball from their nets on 20 occasions. It looked like the players were looking forward to the international break and the referee's followed them with their unusually quiet refereeing. Only one players was sent off, he was a goalkeeper, and they didn't award any penalty shots.

With international games coming up, Primera Devisión will take a two week break. Games of Day 30 will be played on April 2 and 3.

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GP W D L +/- Pts
1 same FC Barcelona 29 25 3
1 66 78
2 same Real Madrid 29 23 4 2
48 73
3 up Villarreal CF 29 16 6
7
18
54
4 down Valencia CF
29 16 6
7
9
54
5 same RCD Espanyol
29 14 1
14
-4
43
6 same Athletic Bilbao 29 13 3
13 3
42
7 up Sevilla FC
29 12 6
11
0
42
8 down Atlético Madrid 29 11 6
12
3
39
9 up RCD Mallorca 29 11
5
13
-8 38
10 up Osasuna 29 9
8
12
1 35
11 down Real Sociedad
29 11 2
16
-9
35
12 up Levante UD 29
10
5
14
-9 35
13 down Getafe CF
29 9
7
13
-6 34
14 up Racing Santander
29 8
9
12
-15 33
15 up Sporting Gijón 29 7
11
11
-8 32
16 down Deportivo La Coruña 29 7
10
12
-16 31
17 down Real Zaragoza
29 7
9 13 -12 30
18 up Málaga CF 29 8
5
16
-21 29
19 down UD Almería
29 5
11
13
-18 26
20 down Hércules CF 29 7
5
17 -22 26