La Liga Round 31 results: Atletico Madrid hit five past Granada and Deportivo climb out of relegation zone
Radamal Falcao is on target twice for Los Colchoneros and Fernando Vazquez's men are out of the bottom three for the first time since November
By Martin Macdonald
Real Betis fought back from three goals down to earn a point as Pepe Mel's men played out a 3-3 thriller with Sevilla on Friday night.
Ivan Rakitic got the Andalusian derby off to a flyer in the sixth minute when he latched on to a through pass from Jose Antonio Reyes and squeezed a left-footed shot into the far corner. The Croatian doubled his tally 12 minutes later when he pounced on a loose ball inside the box to fire home high into the net.
The visitors looked to have wrapped up the points just after the half-hour mark when Reyes threaded a superb pass into the box from the left-hand side for Negredo, who coolly finished past Adrian in the Betis goal.
Betis gave themselves a glimmer of hope before half time when Dorlan Pabon ran through on goal before expertly chipping the oncoming Antonio Beto.
Sevilla started sweating over the lead 10 minutes into the second half when Jorge Molina was fouled in the penalty area by Federico Fazio and Ruben Castro slotted in the subsequent spotkick. Their task of holding on to their lead was made all the more difficult a couple of minutes later when Gary Medal saw red for kicking out at Jose Canas.
Betis' memorable comeback was complete in injury time when Ruben Castro floated a cross to the back post and substitute Nosa Igiebor headed in to the top corner, sending the home fans into raptures.
VALLADOLID 2-1 GETAFE
Valladolid staged a second half comeback to earn their first home victory since January with a 2-1 win over Getafe at the Jose Zorilla.
The hosts dominated proceedings in the first half, but were punished for their lack of ability to find the night right on half time when Getafe took the lead. Borja Fernandez sent a high ball into the box and Paco Alcacer got beyond the defence to head into the corner.
Valladolid eventually got back into the match 22 minutes into the second half when Oscar Gonzalez headed in an Alvaro Rubio cross.
The home side completed the terrific turnaround 15 minutes from time when Javi Guerra chested down inside the box before taking a touch and firing a strike into the bottom right corner, winning all three points for Miroslav Djukic's men.
LEVANTE 0-4 DEPORTIVO
Deportivo's spectacular escape from the brink of relegation continued on Saturday when they impressively came out 4-0 winners over Levante.
A first half blitz from the visitors was kicked off 12 minutes in when Juan Carlos Valeron received a pass into the box and cleverly turned the ball into the bottom left corner. Pizzi made it two eight minutes later when he rifled a strike into the top right corner from the edge of the box.
Levante failed to muster up any kind of meaningful threat to the Depor goal in the first period and were punished again just before the half-hour mark when Nelson Oliveira turned sharply on the edge of the area and caught goalkeeper Gustavo Munua off-guard with a clinical finish into the bottom corner.
The hosts improved in the second half, but the rout was eventually completed for Deportivo in the last minute when Bruno Gama lashed a strike into the bottom corner from the left-hand side.
Fernando Vazquez's outfit now find themselves provisionally outside the bottom three for the first time since November.
ESPANYOL 3-3 VALENCIA
A last-gasp strike from Sergio Garcia in the 94th minute made sure Espanyol got a share of the points as the Barcelona-based side played out a 3-3 cracker with Valencia at Cornella El-Prat.
Apart from a penalty appeal for the hosts, the first half largely went by without incident, until Mubarak Wakaso got the ball rolling for the goalscoring. The Ghanian arrived late at the back post and headed home from Sergio Garcia's cross.
Valencia clawed a goal back eight minutes after half time when Sergio Canales ran on to a through pass from Ever Banega and finished through the legs of the oncoming Kiko Casilla.
Joan Verdu restored Espanyol's lead eight minutes from time when he smashed into the top corner after receiving a knock down from Wakaso, but Jonas hit back quickly with a snap finish into the bottom corner.
Roberto Soldado thought he had stole the win for Los Che when he ran in behind and curled the ball into the far corner, but there was still time for another goal.
Garcia battled with Victor Ruiz and eventually got the better of the defender before stabbing the ball into the top corner, ensuring the honours were even at the end of the match.
MALAGA 1-0 OSASUNA
Malaga bounced back from their dramatic Champions League exit on Tuesday with a narrow 1-0 victory over Osasuna at La Rosaleda.
Julio Baptista was the first to threaten the opposition goal with a powerful strike early doors. The Brazilian cut inside and fired a shot at goal that was excellently palmed over the bar by goalkeeper, Andres Fernandez.
Javier Saviola then had a couple of efforts that never really looked like opening the scoring.
Manuel Pellegrini's men turned up the heat as the match progressed, but they ended up leaving it late to claim their victory.
Four minutes into injury time, Baptista popped up to finish from close range and steal all three points for Malaga.
RAYO 0-2 REAL SOCIEDAD
Real Sociedad further solidified their claim for the fourth Champions League spot in La Liga with a comfortable 2-0 win against Rayo at Vallecas.
Txuri-urdin were dominant from the get-go, and took the lead after just six minutes. Alberto de la Bella ran on the overlap down the left-hand side and sent a cross into the six yard box, where Imanol Agirretxe stroked past Ruben in the Rayo goal.
Sociedad probed for another and made it 2-0 seven minuted later. Xabi Prieto controlled a long punt up the park galloped forward before eventully squaring for Agirretxe, who finished from close range.
Rayo improved after the break, but the damage was done early doors and Sociedad saw out the win without much incident.
ATLETICO MADRID 5-0 GRANADA
Atletico Madrid provisionally moved level on points with Real Madrid in the Spanish Primera Division after a 5-0 hammering of Granada at the Vicente Calderon on Thursday evening.
Diego Costa continued his good form and opened the scoring after just four minutes. The Brazilian beat goalkeeper Roberto Fernandez to Cristian Rodriguez's cross and headed into the empty net.
Costa then turned provided as Atletico doubled their lead. He burst down the right-hand side and slid a pass along the box for Radamel Falcao, who clinically smashed home with his left foot. The Colombian then grabbed his second shortly after the break with a finish from a few yards out.
Raul Garcia took the match beyond Granada and made it four just after the hour mark when he latched on to Koke's free kick to to finish at the front post.
Filipe Luis completed the win 20 minutes from time when his deflected cross bounced off Roberto's hand and into the net.
- Own Goal
- Penalty Missed
- Yellow Card
- Penalty Save
- Penalty Shootout Goal
- Penalty Shootout Miss
- Yellow Card / Red Card
- Red Card
- Substitution IN
- Substitution OUT
- Goal.com Rating
- Goal.com Man of the Match
- Goal.com Flop of the Match
- Top & Flop Global Ranking
- Fans' Man of the Match
- Fans' Flop of the Match