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La Liga Week 27 Review: Atlético Madrid Win, Many Changes In The Bottom Half of the Table

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 05:  Seydou Keita of Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the La liga match between Barcelona and Real Zaragoza at Camp Nou on March 5, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 05: Seydou Keita of Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the La liga match between Barcelona and Real Zaragoza at Camp Nou on March 5, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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RCD Mallorca 1 - 2 Valencia CF
Valencia were able fight back from a deficit to put some space between them and their chasers Villarreal. Mallorca were hoping to build on their midweek win over Espanyol and they looked well on their way when they took the lead in the 31st minute. Pierre Webo was fouled in the area and Ivan Ramis fired a rising shot into the left corner. Only two minutes later Pablo Hernández equalized with a first time shot after a well organized team move. Valencia took the lead when Ever Banega sent Pablo through and he fired his shot just past Dudu Aouate (56'). Mallorca came close to netting the late tying goal but Akinori Ienaga was denied by Vicente Guaita.

FC Barcelona 1 - 0 Real Zaragoza
In anticipation of Tuesday's game against Arsenal, Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola decided to rest several of his usual starters against the lowly Zaragoza. It was evident that Barca will have problems with the visitors' very defensive formation. In the 29th minute it seemed that Seydou Keita put Barcelona in the lead but his legitimate goal was ruled out for "offside". Keita did get another chance and this time he scored from five yards out after he was brilliantly set up by Lionel Messi (43'). Both teams had some chances in the second half to change the score, none better than Messi's last minute free kick that missed by inches, but the score remained the same.

Atlético Madrid 3 - 1 Villarreal CF
For the first time in a very long time Atlético deliver a performance worthy of a club of their stature. They outplayed Villarreal for the better part of the game and forced the Yellow Submarine to rely on counter attacks. Los Rojiblancos took the lead when José Antonio Reyes fired a magnificent 20 yard curling effort into the far top corner. Giuseppe Rossi equlized with a fine strike from the edge of the box. Kun Agüero put the hosts back in front with low shot (68') and four minutes later Villarreal found themselves in an even bigger hole when Diago Forlan scored for his first time in eight games. Both goalkeepers had to be sharp in the final minutes to keep the score at 3-1.

Sporting Gijón 2 - 0 Getafe CF
Sporting ended their five game winless streak with a comfortable victory over the struggling Madrid based club. The hosts played better football in the game and they almost took the lead just two minutes into the game but Nacho Cases' 30 yard strike hit the crossbar. Getafe's Jordi Codina was also forced to make a couple outstanding saves, but in the 32nd minute he was finally beaten by Miguel de las Cuevas' shot. Nine minutes later André Castro fired an unstoppable 30 yard shot to double Sporting's lead. They should have won this game by more than two goals but in the end they were very happy to pick up valuable points.

Hércules 1 - 2 UD Almería
Hércules wasted a great opportunity to pick up three easy points against the lowly Alméria and put some distance between them and the relegation zone. It was a tightly matched game with both teams getting their fair share of opportunities, but in the first half the best ones were created by the visitors. Five minutes into the second half Hércules took the lead when Abraham Paz was picked out by Francisco Farinos' free kick from the right and the defender headed it home. The hosts had the chance to increase the lead but didn't and they were penalized for not doing so when Almería struck twice within three minutes. The first was a left footed close range effort by Sofiane Feghouli (70'). Then the defense forgot about Modeste M'Bami who was left unmarked to collect the cross and score the winning goal (73')

Málaga CF 0 - 1 Osasuna
Málaga's chances of retaining a spot in the Primera Division took a serious dent with a shocking home loss against the Pamplona based club. In this open affair the teams combined for 35 shots, but not many of them went on goal and even less challenged the goalkeepers. La Liga's worst home team wasn't able to hold a clean sheet for the whole game against the league's worst away side. Three minutes into added time Osasuna's defender Sergio Fernández connected with a corner kick to ensure a dramatic victory. Málaga almost levelled through Eliseu Pereira three minutes later, but the hosts were left with a disappointing defeat.

Levante UD 1 - 0 RCD Espanyol
In form Levante, who have lost only once in their last seven games, were able to see off the struggling Espanyol. Levante were unlucky not to take the lead after 10 minutes, when Juanlu fired against the crossbar and the ball appeared to rebound behind the line before bouncing out. The play continued and even replays remained inconclusive. They did take the lead, though, when Felipe Caicedo headed home Valmiro Valdo's cross (26'). Espanyol were able able to pressure for a short period of time, but even then they couldn't find the tying goal and they could have found themselves down by more had it not been for Idriss Kameni's great saves.

Athletic Bilbao 2 - 0 Sevilla FC
After four consecutive losses, Athletic Bilbao were finally able beat their opposition with a good performance at San Mamés. There weren't many good scoring chances in the first half, but the breakthrough did came midway through the second half. Koikili drove in a low cross from the left and attempting to clear the ball, Federico Fazio succeeded only in firing a shot past his own goalkeeper. The Basques put the game out of reach when Andoni Iraiola successfully converted a penalty shot that was awarded for a foul by Julien Escude.

Racing Santander 1 - 3 Real Madrid
Ronaldoless Madrid recorded an easy away victory and they played better than they do when the Portuguese player is on the pitch. Real created an handful of chances in the first half but they had to wait 23 minutes to take the lead. Emmanuel Adebayor was left with a simple finish after Mesut Özil did all the work. Four minutes later Karim Benzema added to the lead with an low shot past Toño.

In the second half Real weren't as dominant and they allowed Racing to come forward. Giovani Dos Santos was brought down in the box, but Pablo Pinillos' awful spot-kick was easily saved by Iker Casillas (53'). However, Racing did pull one back when Kennedy Bakircioglü beat Casillas with a low shot (70'). Racing continued to press for the equalizer, leaving their defense vulnerable and they allowed dBenzema to score his second of the night (75'). Adebayor also had the opportunity to complete his brace, but he also took a bad penalty shot that was saved by Toño after a foul on Angel Di Maria

Deportivo La Coruña 2 - 1 Real Sociedad
Deportivo managed to stay clear of the relegation zone for another week after a somewhat surprising win over the Europe hopefuls Real Sociedad. Deportivo were the more dangerous team in what was a quiet first half and four minutes before the break substitute Riki sent an acrobatic volley into the far corner of the net for the lead. Deportivo's top scorer Adrian increased the lead when he was sent clear in the 57th minute and he calmly sent the ball between Claudio Bravo's legs and into the net. The visitors gave themselves some hope seven minutes later when Imanol Agirretxe headed in a cross, but the could force the equalizer.

Recap
Getafe have been disappointing this calendar year, recording only one win in 11 games and they are quickly slipping from their goal, a spot in a European competition. Another team that is struggling mightily is Espanyol who have now lost six of their last seven games and they could lose their Europa League place very soon.

For the second week in a row goalkeepers saved two penalty shots, out of a total of four (three last week). Just as last week 24 goals were scored which by Primera División standards is not much. Only one player was sent of this week and even he was sent off in the 85th minute meaning no team enjoyed a prolonged man advantage period.

Next week's games will be played on March 12, 13 and 14.

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GP W D L +/- Pts
1 same FC Barcelona 27 24 2 1 65 74
2 same Real Madrid 27 21 4 2
46 67
3 same Valencia CF 27 16 6
5
14
54
4 same Villarreal CF
27 15 5
7
17
50
5 up Athletic Bilbao 27 13 2
12
4
41
6 down RCD Espanyol
27 13 1
13 -4
40
7 up Atlético Madrid 27 11 5
11
4
38
8 down Sevilla FC
27 11 5
11
-1
38
9 same Real Sociedad 27 11
2
14
-6 35
10 same RCD Mallorca 27 10
4
13
-9 34
11 same Getafe CF
27 9 6
12
-5
33
12 up Levante UD
27 9
4
14
-10 31
13 up Deportivo La Coruña 27 7
10
10
-11 31
14 down Racing Santander 27 7
9
11
-14 30
15 up Osasuna 27 7
8
12
-5 29
16 up Sporting Gijón 27 6
10
11
-9 28
17 down Real Zaragoza 27 6
9 12 -15 27
18 down Hércules CF
27 7
5
15
-16 26
19 up UD Almería 27 5
10
12
-17 25
20 down Málaga CF
27 6
5
16 -25 23