La Liga Round 20 Results: Atletico cut the gap at the top and Malaga miss the chance to go fourth
An injury to Radamel Falcao leaves Diego Simeone worried despite win at home, meanwhile there was important victories for Espanyol and Osasuna
By Martin Macdonald
A goal in the closing stages from Raul Baena saw Espanyol narrowly defeat 10-man Mallorca 3-2 on Friday evening.
The hosts landed the first blow just 16 minutes in when Baena was fouled outside the area and Simao stepped up to lash home the free kick from 25 yards.
However, the match was turned on its head just before the break when Giovani Dos Santos coolly finished into the bottom-left corner and Javi Marquez terrifically volleyed home from a corner to make it 2-1 to Mallorca.
The Catalan side improved after the break, and were back on level terms 22 minutes from time when Joan Verdu dispatched a penalty kick. The match was made all the more difficult for the Islanders when Antonio Luna was sent off for a second bookable offence, and Espanyol completed the comeback seven minutes from time when Baena powered home from a few yards out to make it 3-2.GRANADA 2-0 RAYO
An understrength Rayo Vallecano paid for poor defensive errors as they were defeated 2-0 by Granada at Los Carmenes.
The visitors were missing star players Leo Baptistao and Alejendro Dominguez for the trip, and felt their absence throughout as they lacked a cutting edge in the final third.
The home side opened the scoring midway through the first period when Allan Nyom showed determination to get on the end of a long ball and smash a teasing ball into the area. The unfortunate Jordi Amat diverted into his own net in an attempt to clear, making it 1-0.
The victory was ensured 10 minutes from time when a pacey counterattack from hosts saw Carlos Aranda cut the ball back to Recio 25 yards out, and the debutant lashed a shot into the bottom left corner.GETAFE 1-1 SEVILLA
Unai Emery’s La Liga reign as Sevilla boss started with a 1-1 draw with Getafe at Coliseum Alfonso Perez on Saturday evening.
Los Rojiblancos posed the bigger threat in the first period, and should have taken the lead through chances for Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas in the first 20 minutes. Their goal did eventually come five minutes before half time when Ivan Rakitic neatly set-up Jose Antonio Reyes to finish coolly for his third goal of the campaign.
Despite being dominant in the first half, Sevilla conceded before the break when Adrian Colunga’s free kick deceived Andres Palop to float into the top corner.
Neither side could muster up any meaningful chances as the match went on, ensuring the points were shared.MALAGA 1-1 CELTA VIGO
Malaga passed up the chance to move into the Champions League places in La Liga as they could only draw with 1-1 a plucky Celta Vigo side at La Rosaleda.
The opening stages saw both sides try their luck with shots from distance, but none of the attempts posed any threat to the goalkeepers. Malaga did take the lead 38 minutes in when a goalmouth scramble ensued inside the Celta box and the ball fell to the feet of Martin Demichelis, who had the easiest of tasks to prod home.
The second half was a relatively drab affair, with the only real chance of note proving to be decisive. Alex Lopez powered his way through the Malaga defence and the ball broke kindly for Augusto Fernandez, who slotted the ball into the net to earn a point for the visitors.
OSASUNA 2-1 DEPORTIVO
The relegation battle between Osasuna and Deportivo at El Sadar ended in a 2-1 victory to Jose Luis Mendilibar’s outfit on Sunday morning.
The home side made their intentions known early, with Emiliano Armenteros and Alvaro Cejudo both coming close with decent chances. The early pressure paid off 26 minutes in when Kike Sola got on the end of a cross from Armenteros to bounce the ball in with awkward volley.
Osasuna doubled their lead on the hour mark when a quick free kick from Lolo saw Nino through on goal to the right-hand side, and the 32-year-old made it 2-0 with a powerful strike into the near post.
Deportivo rallied after going two down, and managed to claw a goal back through a Javier Camunas strike at the near post, but it was too little too late and the Coruna side now find themselves at the foot of the table.
REAL VALLADOLID 2-0 ZARAGOZA
Goals from Javi Guerra and Oscar Gonzalez gave Real Valladolid a 2-0 victory over Real Zaragoza in a scrappy Spanish Primera Division encounter on Sunday afternoon.
Guerra struck the post with a header in the opening stages, but put the miss behind him a few minutes later when he latched on to a corner from Oscar to turn swiftly inside the box before blasting home.
Heavy rain caused mayhem with the pitch at the Jose Zorrilla, and the unpredictable surface resulted in injuries for Patrick Ebert, Glenn Loovens, and Apono.
The home side ensured they would claim all three points with 18 minutes remaining. Carlos Pena crossed into the box and Oscar was on hand to finish, sealing the win.
ATLETICO MADRID 2-0 LEVANTE
Atletico Madrid continued their fantastic run at the Vicente Calderon with a comfortable 2-0 victory against Levante on Sunday evening, but their victory has been marred with an injury to talisman, Radamel Falcao.
A fine goal opened the scoring for los Colchoneros 13 minutes before half time when Tiago picked out Javi Manquillo with a lofted pass and the full-back reversed a pass to the back post for Adrian Lopez, who slotted home.
The hosts suffered a major blow 12 minutes into the second half when Falcao looked to run on to a pass through the middle, only to pull up clutching his hamstring. The Colombian subsequently had to be substituted.
Despite losing their star player, Atletico marched on and doubled their lead on the hour mark when Koke powered a fantastic strike into the top corner from 25 yards.
The result leaves Diego Simeone’s men eight points off the pace at the top of La Liga.
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