Round-up: Real win, Valencia thrashed!!!
-Tony Mabert / Reuters-
Real Madrid extended their lead at the top of La Liga to 10 points after they won 2-0 at Racing Santander, while Valencia were dragged deeper into the relegation mire with a 5-1 defeat in Bilbao.
Real captain Raul goal after 13 minutes was enough to take all three points from El Sardinero back to the Spanish capital, giving them a commanding lead over second-placed Villarreal.
The goal was moment of rare fluidity in a workmanlike performance from the defending champions, with Wesley Sneijder and Fernando Gago combining in midfield to feed Robinho out wide on the left. The Brazilian winger then curled in a cross that Raul got the slightest of touches on to steer it underneath goalkeeper Tono.
Substitute Gonzalo Higuain put the gloss on the result in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time with a clinical low finish.
Racing, who could have moved above Atletico Madrid into fourth place with a win, had the majority of possession for the rest of the match, but failed to convert any of their numerous chances.
Midfielder Jorge Lopez delivered a steady stream of inviting set pieces and crosses, most notably for defender Cesar Navas, who had two good chances to head in from close range in the closing minutes of the first half.
After the break, Racing continued to dominate, but the resistance of the Real defence, especially from former Manchester United full-back Gabriel Heinze, was enough to repel the attacks, and goalkeeper Iker Casillas barely had a save to make.
The win confirms that real will finish the season in the top four, while Racing remain one point out of it.
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ATHLETIC BILBAO 5-1 VALENCIA
Valencia remain just two points above the relegation zone after being crushed 5-1 at Athletic Bilbao.
Ronald Koeman's side, who won the Copa del Rey on Wednesday night, were three goals down at the San Mames stadium after a brace from Fernando Llorente and one strike from Javi Martinez, before David Villa pulled one back for Los Che. Andoni Iraola and Artiz Aduriz added one more each for the Basque side towards the end.
Despite residing comfortably in mid-table, it was Bilbao who looked the more committed of the two sides, and were the ones creating early chances, and they got their reward after 19 minutes when Javi Martinez shot from the edge of the box was deflected past goalkeeper Juan Luis Mora.
Even after going a goal down, Valencia failed to mount a significant fight back, and they were two down three minutes after the break when the highly impressive Llorente stabbed a finish past Mora.
He got his second 20 minutes later when he tried to lob Mora. The goalkeeper got his fingers to the shot but the loose ball fell back into the path of Llorente for a simple tap-in.
David Villa gave Los Che a glimmer of hope with 15 minutes to go when his free kick deflected off a defender and past Armando Riveiro in the Bilbao goal.
It proved to be too little, far too late as Iraola latched onto a neat reverse pass form Joseba Etxeberria to slot home with five minutes of normal time left, before substitute Aduriz glanced in a header in injury time to complete the rout as a stunned Koeman looked on.
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LEVANTE 3-1 GETAFE
New Levante coach Jose Angel Moreno was treated to a win on his debut in the dugout against a Getafe side suffering from their midweek Copa del Rey final defeat.
Juanma dribbled past three defenders before striking a spectacular opener for the home side after 40 minutes, and four minutes later French midfielder Mathieu Berson poked in the second.
Pedro Leon raced from his own half to make it 3-0 just after the break and Getafe midfielder Ruben de la Red pulled one back for the visitors from the penalty spot soon after.
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OSASUNA 0-1 DEPORTIVO
Depor's fourth win in a row keeps them in the hunt for the European places after midfielder Sergio's second-half penalty earned them the points in Pamplona. Osasuna are still threatened with relegation.
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REAL MURCIA 1-4 REAL MALLORCA
Mallorca effectively sealed their top-flight status with this win pushing Murcia closer to a return to the second division.
Spain striker Daniel Guiza headed the opener early on and Venezula's Juan Arango doubled the lead with another header. Guiza completed his hat-trick after the break and Murcia managed a consolation goal at the end from Brazilian striker Fernando Baiano.
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VILLARREAL 2-0 VALLADOLID
Valladolid started strongly but were behind after 16 minutes when Turkish striker Nihat Kahveci raced on to Santi Cazorla's pass to score.
Just after the interval Nihat set up Cazorla for the second on a counter-attack to put Manuel Pellegrini's into second place.