Granada vs. Sporting Gijón  2 - 1

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La Liga wrap: Barcelona untroubled by Sevilla

18 March 2012 03:55

Barcelona maintained their impressive form with a 2-0 victory away to Sevilla on Saturday, while Granada and Rayo Vallecano also won.

Visitors Barca dominated proceedings early on at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, and they were rewarded when Xavi Hernandez curled home a free-kick to make it 1-0 in the 18th minute.

It was 2-0 seven minutes later, with Lionel Messi playing the ball through the legs of Emir Spahic, before beating Sevilla goalkeeper Andres Palop with an exquisite chip.

Sevilla had their chances to get back in the game - Manu del Moral hit the bar after taking advantage of a Gerard Pique error in the 33rd minute.

At the other end, Palop did well to keep out a Cesc Fabregas shot in first-half stoppage time.

Manu went close again for Sevilla on 65 minutes, narrowly failing to connect with Jesus Navas' delivery.

Andres Iniesta shot wide from close range with 17 minutes to go, while Messi had a late strike ruled out for offside.

Barca's sixth consecutive victory in all competitions sees them move to within seven points of league leaders Real Madrid, who host Malaga on Sunday.

Elsewhere, Rayo Vallecano were comfortable 3-0 winners at home to fellow promoted side Real Betis.

Goals from Emiliano Armenteros, Diego Da Silva Costa and Raul Tamudo, all in the second half, did the damage for hosts Rayo at Campo de futbol de Vallecas.

The other team to be promoted last season, Granada, were also victorious, as they downed Sporting Gijon 2-1 at home.

First-half goals from Carlos Martins and Guillherme Siqueira earned Granada an early 2-0 lead, with Adrian Colunga pulling one back for the visitors in extra-time.

Granada finished with 10 men after goal-scorer Martins received a straight red card in the 94th minute.

Bottom side Real Zaragoza passed up the chance to record a much-needed win, as they drew 1-1 at home to Osasuna.

Strugglers Zaragoza took the lead through Helder Postiga in the 86th minute of the match, but surrendered their advantage just 60 seconds later, with Roversio levelling for the visitors.

Finally, Inigo Martinez's own-goal gifted Real Sociedad a 1-0 win in their match away to Getafe.

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La Liga preview: Malaga seek end to Real drought

17 March 2012 08:04

Malaga will be searching for their first ever win against leaders Real Madrid, while Barcelona visit Sevilla in this weekend's La Liga action.

In 23 meetings dating back to 1999, Real Madrid have beaten Malaga 18 times with five outings finishing as draws.

But Manuel Pellegrini's men have been closing in on a victory against the Spanish powerhouse, twice going close in their Copa del Rey round-of-16 tie in January.

In both legs they were edged by a goal, and despite entering Sunday's clash at the Santiago Bernabeu on the back of three consecutive league wins, they have the big task of stopping Jose Mourinho's rampant side.

With Cristiano Ronaldo (32 league goals), Gonzalo Higuain (17) and Karim Benzema (13) finishing off the good work of Mesut Oezil and Kaka in midfield, Real have moved 10 points clear of Barcelona.

Pep Guardiola's Barcelona travel to Sevilla on Saturday still maintaining hope they can catch Real.

The champions take on a Sevilla side sitting 11th despite being expected to challenge for a European spot this campaign.

Michel's Sevilla outfit suffered a 1-0 loss to struggling Sporting Gijon last time out and will find the going tough against a Barcelona side that has won six straight games in all competitions.

Elsewhere, Valencia meet Marcelo Bielsa's Athletic Bilbao on Sunday as Unai Emery's side look to maintain their four-point advantage in third spot.

Sporting Gijon will be hoping their surprise win over Sevilla can kick-start their campaign and help them move out of the relegation zone, beginning with a trip to Granada on Saturday.

Javier Clemente's team ended a run of seven league matches without a win when they shocked Sevilla, and are now just three points from safety.

Levante will be out to bounce back from their loss to Malaga when they host Villarreal on Sunday, while eighth-placed Atletico Madrid travel to Mallorca.

Osasuna enter their clash against bottom-placed Real Zaragoza as hot favourites and Getafe meet Real Sociedad.

In other matches, Rayo Vallecano host Real Betis and Espanyol welcome strugglers Racing Santander to Estadi Cornella-El Prat on Monday.

Primera División table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +89 100
2 38 +85 91
3 38 +15 61
4 38 +1 58
5 38 +7 56
6 38 +4 55
7 38 -17 54
8 38 -4 52
9 38 +1 50
10 38 -3 49
11 38 -11 47
12 38 -6 47
13 38 -9 47
14 38 -10 46
15 38 -20 43
16 38 -25 43
17 38 -21 42
18 38 -14 41
19 38 -27 37
20 38 -35 27