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La Liga Week 35 Review: FC Barcelona on the Brink of a Three-Peat, Almería Guaranteed Relegation

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 08: Eric Abidal (R) of Barcelona shakes hands with Idriss Kameni of Espanyol at the end of the La Liga match between Barcelona and Espanyol at Nou Camp on May 8, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 08: Eric Abidal (R) of Barcelona shakes hands with Idriss Kameni of Espanyol at the end of the La Liga match between Barcelona and Espanyol at Nou Camp on May 8, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
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Getafe CF 2 - 0 UD UD Almería
Getafe squashed the little hope Almería had of avoiding the drop. The bottom club is now mathematically eliminated and will spend the next season in the Segunda División. The Madrid based side scored early in both halves as they dominated their way to three points. Five minutes into the game Pedro Ríos unselfishly set up Adrián Colunga who was left with a sliding finish into the open net. Seven minutes after the break Ríos doubled the lead when he slotted home from close range. The visitors pressed forward in the end, but they only managed to hit the post.

Valencia CF 3 - 0 Real Sociedad
After two consecutive defeats Valencia quickly took care of the visiting Basque side. In-form Roberto Soldado opened the floodgates when he reacted brilliantly to redirected Juan Manuel Mata's low cross (16'). Nine minutes later Jonas headed a cross to the far post to double the lead. Soldado added another one when he powered a header to the top corner of Claudio Bravo's net and put the game out of reach (37'). Three first half tallies meant that the second half was merely a formality.

Athletic Bilbao 3 - 2 Levante UD
The Basques took a big step toward a Europa League place with a well earned victory over the Valencia based team. Gaizka Toquero put the hosts in front with a shot to the far post (31'). Two minutes after the break Levante conceded a penalty kick and David López brilliantly fired the spot kick to the top corner. Fernando Llorente added to the lead when he tapped in a low cross. Levante then fought back, but their comeback fell a goal short. Christian Stuani redirected in a cross (77') and Victoriano Nano kept his composure when the ball fell to him after a corner kick (85').

Sporting Gijón 2 - 2 Deportivo La Coruña
Sporting took a step closer to remaining in Spain's top flight league, while a stoppage time penalty left Deportivo fighting for survival. The visitors took the early lead when Adrián stretched back and just got enough on the ball to beat Juan Pablo Colinas. Sporting were awarded a penalty kick after Laure handled the ball inside the area and Garcia Perez Ayoze sent the Daniel Aranzubía the wrong way to tie it (36').

Four minute later, Adrián struck again. He was sent through all alone and after he rounded the keeper he sent the ball into the open net. Four minutes into stoppage time David Barral was brought down for yet another penalty. The Spaniard took the kick himself and, to the delight of the home crowd, comfortably beat Aranzubía.

Hércules CF 2 - 3 Racing Santander
Hércules let a good chance to gain much needed points slip as they lost a hard fought match against Racing Santander. All five goals were scored in a frantic first half. Former Barcelona starlet Giovani dos Santos opened the scoring with a fabulous header (14'). Sendoa Aguirre leveled the score with a well placed shot from 11 yards (40'). A minute later Santos completed his brace with a brilliant chip over Juan Calatayud.

Tiago Gomes tied it two minutes later when his shot took a deflection and ended up in the open part of the net. On loan Barcelona defender Henrique put the visitors in front for the third time with a header from close range (45+1'). The pace slowed in the second half and while Hércules had their opportunities to get something from the game, Racing's lead never looked in danger.

Athlético Madrid 0 - 3 Málaga CF
Málaga continued their recent surge and they have now won four successive matches, this one in comfortable fashion. Rondon started the scoring when his header caught David de Gea wrong footed (29'). Six minutes later it was 2-0. The goal again came from a header but this time scorer was Júlio Baptista who has now scored in five consecutive appearances. Atlético tried to regroup after halftime, but they were left frustrated by Wilfredo Caballero. However, Manuel Pellegrini's side would add on more in the dying stages of the match. Enzo Maresca was first the rebound from Baptista's shot and he slammed it home (84').

Sevilla FC 2 - 6 Real Madrid
Real Madrid dominated their way to another high scoring victory in what was supposed to be a difficult away game. Sergio Ramos started the scoring when he rose above his marker and connected with a corner kick (21'). Ten minutes later Cristiano Ronaldo bagged his first of four of the night with a close range finish. Kaká extended Real's lead when he curled the ball past a diving Javi Varas. Álvaro Negredo cut the lead to two when he beat Iker Casillas at his near post from the edge of the box. Ronaldo then scored three times in a matter of ten minutes (65', 70', 75'), all three of them were simple shots from in close. Negredo went on to add another consolidation goal for Sevilla (84').

RCD Mallorca 0 - 0 Villarreal CF
Two struggling teams met on the island of Mallorca and played out a bore draw. The first half was, simply put, miserable, with the only real action coming when Giuseppe Rossi struck the post. The second half wasn't much better, but at least both goalkeepers had to make a couple saves to keep the score tied. The best scoring opportunities of the mach came when Nilmar forced German Lux to make two good saves.

FC Barcelona 2 - 0 RCD Espanyol
The usually hard fought Catalan derby was lacking energy, possibly due to the all but set standings of the two teams. At first Espayol briefly looked the more dangerous side, but they failed to threaten Victor Valdés. Barcelona then restored order and took the lead when, arguably, man of the match Andrés Iniesta slalomed through the defense and beat Idriss Kameni with a low shot (29'). The keeper was forced to make some good saves in the match and he performed admirably. Two minutes into the second half Gerard Piqué put any doubts about the winner when he connected with a corner kick and headed the ball in.

Real Zaragoza 1 - 3 Osasuna
A second half comeback lifted Osasuna from the relegation zone, but they are far from safe. Angel Lafita converted a rare Osasuna defensive mistake to put his team in front (14'). Both teams had chances to change the score in the first half, but the goalkeepers made a few fantastic saves. In the second half Osasuna took control of the game and scored three times in eighteen minutes. Javier Camuñas tied the game after his shot took a deflection and the ball just squeaked under Antonio Doblas (62'). After eight minutes the visitors took the lead when Sergio Fernández headed home from a bad angle. Kike Sola confirmed the winner when he connected with a low cross and set the final score.

By winning the El Derbi Barceloní, FC Barcelona are now only one point away from clinching their third straight Spanish title. Barca can be crowned champions as soon as Tuesday if Real Madrid drop points, at home, against Getafe.

The fight for the spots outside of the relegation zone is heating up and the fight couldn't be any closer. Only four points separate the 9th placed Sporting Gijón and 18th placed Deportivo La Coruña.

This was one of the highest scoring weeks of the season with 36 goals scored, only three of them came from spot-kicks. Only one player was sent off and even that was a vary harsh decision since Nelson Valdez didn't elbow the opposing player.

With four goals against Sevilla Cristiano Ronaldo took the lead in the Pichichi race from Lionel Messi.

La Liga action returns immediately with matches played on Tuesday and Wednesday, the 10th and 11th May.

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GP W D L +/- Pts
1 same FC Barcelona 35
2 72
2 same Real Madrid 35 26 5 4
3 same Valencia CF 35 20
4 same Villarreal CF 35 18 7
5 up Athletic Bilbao 35 17
6 down Sevilla FC
35 15 7
13 -1
7 down Atlético Madrid 35 15 7
8 same RCD Espanyol
35 15 3
9 up Sporting Gijón 35 10
10 down Levante UD
35 12
11 same RCD Mallorca
35 12
12 up Racing Santander 35 11
13 up Málaga CF 35 12
-14 42
14 up Osasuna 35 11
-1 41
15 down Real Sociedad
35 13
-16 41
16 up Getafe CF 35 11
-9 40
17 down Real Zaragoza
35 10
16 -14 39
18 down Deportivo La Coruña 35 9
-15 39
19 same Hércules CF 35 9
-23 33
20 same UD Almería 35 5
19 -29 26

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