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Battle for European places hots up as Valencia's poor run continues
ThinkSpain , Sunday, March 25, 2012

Real Madrid and Barcelona both recorded wins this week as the Primera Liga title race continues apace.
Real stay six points clear at the top of the table thanks to an emphatic 5-1 victory over Real Sociedad at the Santiago Bernabeu. Ronaldo and Benzema both scored a brace after Higuain had given the home side the opener.

Earlier in the evening Barcelona had secured their seventh consecutive league win with a 2-0 victory at Real Mallorca, despite going down to ten men after 57 minutes, when Thiago was shown a second yellow card.
Behind them in third place, Valencia failed to consolidate their league position after yet another disappointing league result, going down 3-1 at Getafe, who moved into the top half of the table with the victory.
The battle for a place in Europe intensified as Osasuna closed the gap on fourth-placed Levante with a 2-0 win at Ciutat de Valencia.  There is now just one point between the teams.

Two goals in two minutes from Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Martin Demichelis saw Málaga produce a fine second-half comeback to take all three points in a 2-1 win away at Espanyol.
Elsewhere, bottom-side Real Zaragoza appear to be finding form just in the nick of time and boosted their survival hopes with a victory over Atlético Madrid.  Apono scored a penalty deep into stoppage time to hand Zaragoza a 1-0 win and three vital points in their bid to avoid relegation.

Sporting Gijón grabbed a dramatic late point at Athletic Bilbao, when Alberto Lora scored with just 43 seconds left on the clock.

At the foot of the table, the bottom four sides all picked up points on Sunday, but it was perhaps Villarreal's 2-0 victory at Rayo Vallecano, their first win in seven games, that could prove the most decisive, putting six points between them and the relegation zone.

Racing Santander ended their four-match losing streak thanks to a 1-1 draw with Real Betis, but are still third from bottom and six points adrift of the safety zone.

Mallorca 0 Barcelona 2
Real Madrid 5 Real Sociedad 1
Getafe 3 Valencia 1
Espanyol 1 Malaga 2
Levante 0 Osasuna 2
Athletico Bilbao 1 Sporting Gijon 1
Rayo Vallecano 0 Villarreal 2
Real Betis 1 Racing Santander 1
Real Zaragoza 1 Atletico Madrid 0.

Liga standings after 29 games (*game in hand):
1  Real Madrid 75 
2  Barcelona 69 
3  Valencia 47 
4  Málaga 47 
5  Levante 44 
6  Osasuna 43 
7  Espanyol 40 
8  Atlético Madrid 39 
9  Getafe 39 
10 Athletic Bilbao 38 
11 Rayo Vallecano 37 
12 Sevilla* 36 
13 Real Mallorca 36 
14 Real Sociedad 33 
15 Real Betis 32 
16 Villarreal 31 
17 Granada* 31 
18 Racing Santander 25 
19 Sporting Gijón 25 
20 Real Zaragoza 25

Monday 26th March
21:00 Granada vs Sevilla
Sunday 1st April
17:00 Atlético Madrid vs Getafe
17:00 Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao
17:00 Barcelona vs Real Zaragoza
17:00 Málaga vs Real Betis
17:00 Osasuna vs Real Madrid
17:00 Racing Santander vs Granada
17:00 Real Sociedad vs Rayo Vallecano
17:00 Sevilla vs Mallorca
17:00 Sporting Gijón vs Real Zaragoza
17:00 Valencia vs Levante
17:00 Villarreal vs Espanyol

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