RCD Espanyol gave Real Madrid CF some encouragement in the Liga title race by holding leaders and city rivals FC Barcelona to a goalless draw on Saturday.
The champions have a four-point lead ahead of Madrid's home game against third-placed Valencia CF on Sunday. Pedro Rodríguez went close to giving Barcelona the lead early on at Cornellá-El Prat when his cross came back off Carlos Kameni's upright. At the other end, Pablo Osvaldo's centre met a similar fate as Víctor Valdés stretched to touch the ball onto the woodwork.
Barça played the final 28 minutes with ten men after Daniel Alves was shown a second yellow card, although there was some cheer ahead of the holders' UEFA Champions League semi-final opener against FC Internazionale Milano on Tuesday with the appearance of Zlatan Ibrahimović as a substitute following a calf injury.
Elsewhere, Sevilla FC moved into fourth – two points above RCD Mallorca ahead of their fixture against CA Osasuna on Monday – by beating nine-man Real Sporting de Gijón 3-0. Frédéric Kanouté (8) put the hosts in front before Mate Bilić (32) was sent off. José Ángel's dismissal (79) sandwiched further strikes from Luis Fabiano (53) and Cala (80).
Villarreal CF, meanwhile, are up to sixth courtesy of a 2-1 home win against UEFA Europa League semi-finalists Club Atlético de Madrid. Diego Godín and Giuseppe Rossi scored first-half goals for the Yellow Submarine, with Sergio Agüero (64) pulling one back for the visitors.
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|Last updated: 02/07/2011 06:00 CET|
Osvaldo 38, 58
Kike Sola 51
|Venue: La Coruna|
|Real Sociedad||2-1||Sporting Gijón|
Griezmann 32, 79
|Venue: San Sebastian|
Cristiano Ronaldo 82 (p)
Messi 53 (p)