Málaga vs. Valencia  1 - 0

Article

Emery: Valencia beaten by better team

30 April 2012 03:18

Valencia coach Unai Emery said his side's 1-0 defeat to Champions League qualification rivals Malaga on Sunday was a fair result.

Ignacio Camacho scored the only goal of the game in the first half at La Rosaleda to help Manuel Pellegrini's side move level on points with their third-placed rivals.

But according to the 40-year-old Emery, the turning point of the contest came midway through the second half, when former Grenoble starlet Sofiane Feghouli was sent off.

"The team failed after going a man down," Emery told reporters after the match.

"The goal gave (Malaga) peace of mind. They began to feel comfortable and did not have to tighten their grip on the match.

"It is a bad defeat, but a just result on the scoreboard."

Emery insisted he sent his team out with the hope that they would leave with all three points, and acknowledged Malaga are now back into contention for an automatic Champions League qualifying spot.

"We played with the intention of winning, but if we couldn't achieve that, then a draw would not have been bad," he said.

"Worst of all, we have now left Malaga fighting with us for third place, but fortunately it's still in our hands."

Valencia are still to play Osasuna, Villarreal and Real Sociedad in the run-in, while Malaga have to face Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Sporting Gijon in their final three games of the La Liga season.

Article

La Liga wrap: Barca sizzle to keep title alive

30 April 2012 01:18

Barcelona took the frustration of a tough week out on Rayo Vallecano, thrashing the Madrid-based minnows 7-0 in La Liga on Sunday.

After losing the El Clasico against Real Madrid last week, getting eliminated by Chelsea in the Champions League on Tuesday and finding out coach Pep Guardiola will leave Barcelona at the end of the season, the Catalan club put together a classic performance.

Lionel Messi scored the first and last goals and was involved in four other goals, while Pedro also scored twice and set up three others.

Barcelona took the lead in the 16th minute when Messi finished off the good lead-up play of Alexis Sanchez and Pedro before the visitors doubled the advantage 10 minutes later when Messi's shot was put into the net by Vallecano defender Rober.

Seydou Keita scored the third in the 38th minute thanks to an assist from Messi.

Just two minutes into the second half, Pedro scored his first. Messi released Sanchez down the left and then smashed the Chilean's cross against the bar but Pedro was there to score from the rebound.

In the 77th minute, Dani Alves and Pedro exchanged passes on the right before the Brazilian right-back crossed to Thiago who headed home.

Pedro scored again ten minutes later when Messi chipped the ball to him over Vallecano's defence, before the two players switched roles for Barcelona's seventh goal, and Messi's second, in the 90th minute.

The result means Real Madrid can't quite celebrate claiming the La Liga title just yet as Barcelona remain seven points behind the capital club with four matches remaining.

Real Madrid did, however, do the job against Sevilla, winning 3-0 for their third consecutive win in the competition.

Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 19th minute before Karim Benzema scored a second-half brace to secure the home win for the league leaders.

Malaga, meanwhile, moved back into Spain's fourth European Champions League spot with a 1-0 win over third-placed Valencia.

Malaga and Valencia are now equal on 55 points, with Valencia ahead on goal difference, while Levante are just three points behind.

In other La Liga results on Sunday, Real Zaragoza defeated Athletic Bilbao 2-0 and Real Betis drew 2-2 with Atletico Madrid.

Article

La Liga preview: Real, Barca out for revenge

28 April 2012 01:43

Real Madrid and Barcelona will look to bounce back from UEFA Champions League heartbreak in this weekend's La Liga action.

Real and Barca - the two giants of Spanish football - were knocked out of the semi-finals in Europe's premier club competition by Bayern Munich and Chelsea respectively in mid-week.

For Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid outfit, they can take some solace in the fact that barring a miracle, they will lift their first La Liga title in four years at the season's end.

Real lead Barcelona by seven points on the table with just four matches to play and they can move another step towards securing the title with victory against Sevilla on Sunday.

"We need to go out on Sunday with pride," Mourinho said in the build-up to the Santiago Bernabeu fixture.

"It is disappointing to have gone out (of the Champions League) because of all the work we put in but now we have four games to finish our season and it is down to us. If we win the championship then it will have been a good season."

Mourinho also clarified the situation surrounding his future, saying that he will continue in his post at the club.

A similar statement has not been heard from Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola though, with an announcement on his future expected Friday.

After winning the Spanish Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup last year, 2012 has not treated Barca kindly.

Winning the league looks beyond them and their semi-final exit to Chelsea - a tie which they led 2-1 on aggregate, with their opponents reduced to 10 men at the Camp Nou - will sting for some time.

They should get back to winning ways when they visit Rayo Vallecano on Sunday though and Guardiola's men still have another opportunity to add to the trophy cabinet when they play Athletic Bilbao on May 25 in the Copa del Rey final.

Also on Sunday, the race for third could be decided at La Rosaleda when fourth-placed Malaga (52 points) host the side directly above them, Valencia (55 points), while Athletic Bilbao travel to Real Zaragoza and Real Betis welcome the visit of Atletico Madrid.

Levante, who sit fifth, are at home to Granada in the pick of Saturday's fixtures, which also see Sporting Gijon's battle for survival take them to Espanyol.

Getafe host Mallorca, Racing Santander visit Real Sociedad and Villarreal are at home to Osasuna in the other matches on Saturday.

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