It was a night of spurned opportunities in La Liga as none of the sides chasing the fourth Champion’s League spot were able to take maximum points and crank up the pressure on Valencia ahead of their trip to the Nou Camp tomorrow night.
Sevilla were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Deportivo La Coruna. The hosts took the lead after 20 minutes through Federico Fazio, who guided a header from a Diego Perotti free-kick past Depor keeper Daniel Aranzubia, who despite getting a palm to it, could not keep the ball out. Just three minutes later though, the visitors drew level. Adrian snuck in at the near post to sidefoot home a low cross from Andres Guardado, beyond Andres Palop. Perotti was a continued threat for Sevilla, with his cross in the 27th minute beating everyone including en-rushing team mate Alvaro Negredo, before agonisingly coming back out off the foot of the post. Some crucial stops from the impressive Aranzubia capped a frustrating night for Sevilla. Substitute Luis Fabiano, who had been expected to miss the game through injury, saw his superb header cannon back off of the crossbar on the hour mark, and it proved to be as close as any side would come to an equaliser on the night. The result will leave both hoping that Barcelona can see off Los Che on Sunday, which if home form is anything to go by, they should do with ease.
Getafe brushed aside fellow Europe chasing hopefuls Mallorca with ease, as they put a run of six games without a win to an end with a 3-0 victory at Coliseum Alfonso Perez. Daniel Parejo gave Getafe the lead on 32 minutes, heading Jaime Gavilan’s cross into the roof of the net from close range. Mallorca rarely threatened the home side and will have to extinguish their horrific away form this season if they are to have any chance of fulfilling their aspirations. The Balearic Island side have mustered just two wins on the road all season. Their night got worse ten minutes from time as substitute Miku made an immediate impact scoring with a low shot on 80 minutes. In the 85th minute captain Nunes was sent-off for handling on the line during a goal mouth scramble, as Getafe chased their third. Substitute Manu converted the ensuing penalty to wrap up the three points and boost Getafe’s own European spot credentials.
In the evening’s other fixture, Sporting Gijon and Athletic Bilbao served up a 0-0 stalemate, largely thanks to an impressive display from home stopper Juan Pablo Colinas. The Spaniard not only denied Igor Gabilondo with a 59th minute penalty save, but also produced a number of top class stops to frustrate the visitors. Bilbao missed an opportunity to leap over Deportivo into sixth and draw level with Mallorca, with them having succumbed to defeat in the earlier game. Fenando Llorente and Javier Martinez both also saw decent efforts clawed away by Juan Pablo, whilst Sporting’s best chance of the night fell to Diego Castro Gimenez, whose attempt was turned off the line by Carlos Gurpegui.
All in all it was an entertaining night’s action in the race for fourth, and all attention will now turn the battles at the top and foot of the table in Sunday’s key clashes, with Real and Barca in action at the summit and a six-pointer between Racing Santander and Real Zaragoza down at the bottom.