Mallorca keep pressure for Champions League spot

Mallorca keep pressure for Champions League spot

Mallorca's midfielder Julio Alvarez (2L) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Sporting Gijon during their Spanish league football match on March 7, 2010 at Ono Stadium in Palma de Mallorca. AFP

Mallorca are in fourth place, ahead of Sevilla on goal difference, after victory against an in-form Sporting side looking for their third consecutive winon Sunday.

A long range shot from Julio Alvarez surprised Sporting keeper Juan Pablo Colinas to put Mallorca ahead and while they were always in control they did not extend the lead until the last 15 minutes when Victor Casadesus and Pierre Webo wrapped up the match.
A Gaizka Toquero double gave Athletic Bilbao a 2-0 win over Valladolid to boost their European ambitions. Athletic are now just one point behind sixth-placed Deportivo La Coruna while the result has put Valladolid in further trouble at the other end and are now four points from safety.

In Sunday's late match, a last ditch header from Ibrahima Balde gave ten-man Atletico Madrid a 1-1 draw against Zaragoza.

Defender Jiri Jarosik put Zaragoza in front when he headed in a corner after seven minutes and it was the home side that continued to have the better openings with Jose Antonio Reyes the only player from Atletico to pose any threat.In-form Humberto Suazo missed a couple of guilt-edged chances but with Reyes sent-off for lashing out it appeared as though Zaragoza were set for victory until substitute Balde scored deep into injury time.

Bottom side Xerez won their first away match of the season with a 4-2 victory over Malaga. Momo Figueroa put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot after just five minutes but it appeared as though Malaga were on track for victory after goals from Sergio Duda and Valmiro Valdo put them into the lead.

Xerez though enjoyed the luck which they have lacked for much of this season as Momo scored their second penalty and then Leandro Gioda and Fabian Orellana completed the scoring.

On Saturday, a stoppage time winner from Rafael van der Vaart gave Real Madrid a 3-2 win over Sevilla and put them top of the table. After 10-man Barcelona were held 2-2 by Almeria, Real took full advantage in a dramatic finale to go ahead of the Catalans on goal difference.

Having gone behind through a Xabi Alonso own-goal and then a Ivica Dragutinovic free-kick, Real started their comeback with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos.

It appeared as though Real would have to settle for a draw before a grandstand finish from van der Vaart. A brace from Lionel Messi rescued a point for Barcelona against an Almeria side who more than held their own.

The Argentine twice brought Barca level after Almeria had gone ahead through Domingo Cisma and then a Carles Puyol own-goal. On a bad night for Barca, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was dismissed for kicking out.

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