La Liga Round 16 Results: Toquero late strike helps 10-man Athletic Bilbao beat Zaragoza at San Mames

The Basque were pushed to the final whistle as both teams finished the game a man light, while Getafe and Espanyol both ran out winners in the days earlier matches

La Liga: Round 16


Saturday DECEMBER 17
  KO Sunday DECEMBER 18
Mallorca - Getafe
1-2 Atletico Madrid - Betis
Sporting Gijon - Espanyol
Granada - Levante
Athletic Bilbao - Zaragoza
2-1 Osasuna - Villarreal
Sevilla - Real Madrid
2-6 Racing - Real Sociedad

  Valencia - Malaga

 all kickoffs in ET

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Getafe ended Mallorca's five game unbeaten streak but was forced to come from behind at the Iberostar Stadium as an Abdel brace enough to seal all three points.

After a lively start to the game Mallorca took the lead in the 10th minute when Ivan Ramis headed home following a corner.

Getafe attempted to find a way back into the match and were rewarded inside the half hour mark when Abdel netted his first goal of the game with a perfectly directed header.

And the Madrid-based side took the lead a minute before the break when Miku's low cross was bundled home from two meters out by Abdel.

Luis Garcia's side came close to celebrating a third goal early in the second half but Pedro Rios' shot cannoned back off the upright to the relief of the home fans but their side was unable to find an equalizer as it suffered its third home defeat of the season.

The victory for Getafe helps lift them above Joaquin Caparros' side who will be hoping to return to winning ways when they travel to Levante. Next up for the Madrid-based side meanwhile is Athletic Bilbao.

Sporting Gijon
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Espanyol managed to see off a spirited Sporting Gijon performance at El Molinon with a late Sergio Garcia goal earning it a 2-1 victory.

Espanyol opened the scoring in emphatic fashion just two minutes into the match. Sergio Garcia tapped the ball to Thievy Bifouma and the Sporting defense stood off the striker allowing him to set himself up. The 19-year-old then let fly with a fine effort from the edge of the area which struck the back of the net.

The start of the second 45 was nearly a replica of the first with the Barcelona-based club close to doubling their lead but their failure to do so gave a lifeline to Sporting, one that they didn't hesitate to take.

Miguel de las Cuevas' corner caused problems inside Espanyol's penalty area and David Barral was on hand to turn the ball past Cristian Alvarez to level the tie.

However, Sergio Garcia ruined Sporting's evening when he swept home a beautiful strike in the 84th minute to leave the home side flailing in the bottom three.

The win for Espanyol helps it move up to seventh in La Liga ahead of its derby match against current champion Barcelona in the first week of 2012. Sporting will visit Real Betis for its first game after the winter break.
Athletic Bilbao
Real Zaragoza
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Gaizka Toquero struck in the 87th minute to hand 10-man Athletic Bilbao an invaluable 2-1 victory over a struggling Zaragoza side at San Mames.

Leonardo Ponzio's penalty canceled out Markel Susaeta's early strike following Javi Martinez's sending off. Midway through the second half Zaragoza were reduced to ten before Toquero's dramatic late winner.

Bilbao started the brighter of the two and when Susaeta was afforded space inside the penalty he didn't hesitate to cooly slot the ball home.

The Basque's bright start soon unraveled when Javi Martinez was sent off after felling Angel Lafita in the penalty area and Ponzio gleefully converted the spot kick to level the match with over a hour still to play.

Zaragoza failed to capitalize on its numerical advantage, before it was reduced to 10 men itself midway through the second half when Maurizio Lanzaro for a second bookable offense.

Toquero then popped up in the 87th minute to turn home Oscar de Marcos' cross and secure a dramatic win for Bilbao.

Zaragoza's winless streak reaches 10 as it finishes 2011 rooted to the bottom of the table. Coach Javier Aguirre will be hopeful that the new year, which kicks off against Racing, will give his side a fresh impetus.

Toquero's late strike will ensure that Bilbao end the year on a positive note and will look onto the match against Getafe in 2012 in earnest.
Real Madrid
A full recap of Madrid's resounding win can be found here.
Atletico Madrid
0-2 Real Betis


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Gregorio Manzano's position in charge of Atletico Madrid is likely to come under further scrutiny after his side was defeated 2-0 at home to Betis on Sunday morning.

Los Colchoneros' win over Rennes in the Europa League in midweek had given the former Mallorca boss some time from the fans, but they are likely to let their voices be heard after losing to a Verdiblancos side that have struggled to pick up points in recent weeks.

Alex Pozuelo opened the scoring on 54 minutes, lashing the ball into the net from inside the six-yard box, and Atleti had simply no response to the setback.

Roque Santa Cruz sealed the win in injury time. Moments after smashing the crossbar with a superb strike, he slotted home from close range, and a chorus of jeers rang around the Vicente Calderon, with Manzano due to face serious questions regarding his future at the club.

2-1 Levante


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Granada defeated Levante 2-1 to give itself distance from the relegation zone.

Guillherme Siqueira opened the scoring for the home side from the penalty spot, converting after Jose Barkero had been penalized for handball.

Granada then doubled the advantage on the stroke of halftime. After Odion Ighalo's shot had struck the post, Abel made sure of a two-goal lead at the break.

Levante has faded after its incredible start to the campaign, but to the team's credit fought its way back into the contest, and was rewarded on the hour mark when Arouna Kone nodded home from close range.

However, the team could not find an equalizer and Granada edges three points clear of the drop zone.

2-1 Villarreal


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Relegation appears to be a real and present danger for Villarreal this season after the team stumbled to a 2-1 defeat at Osasuna in Pamplona.

The Yellow Submarine ironically looked to be on course to end their recent dreadful run when Marco Ruben netted from close range in the 64th minute, after an excellent run from Cani.

But the frailties of Juan Carlos Garrido's side continue to rear their head, and the team was pegged back when Ibrahima Balde slammed home from inside the area to tie up the scores.

Osasuna then pushed forward in search of the winner, and the noticeably rattled visitors folded on 83 minutes when Sergio headed home to give the home side the win. Villarreal, meanwhile is only outside the relegation zone on goal difference.

Racing Santander
0-0 Real Sociedad


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Racing missed the chance to jump out of the relegation positions, but remains unbeaten in its last three matches courtesy of a scoreless draw at home to Real Sociedad.

The home side had the better of what was in the main a drab contest and was boosted by the sending off of Inigo Martinez nine minutes after the break for a second bookable offence.

But the club could not ultimately make the breakthrough and remains two points clear of safety at the foot of La Liga.


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A clinical brace from Roberto Soldado helped Valencia end a stretch of three games without a win, defeating Malaga 2-0 at Mestalla in Sunday's La Liga encounter and a full report of the match can be found here.