Rafael Benítez's side won 1-0 at Real Zaragoza thanks to a 67th-minute strike from Miguel Angulo. That result put Valencia in pole position, at least until Madrid's match later on Sunday against CA Osasuna. However, the defending champions failed to overhaul the two-point deficit as they lost 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabéu to compound a miserable week in which they were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League. Valdo, Pablo García and Moha were the Osasuna goalscorers.
Meanwhile, RC Deportivo La Coruña followed up their Champions League victory over AC Milan with a 2-0 away success against Villarreal CF. This kept Deportivo in third place, above FC Barcelona who had won 3-1 at Real Valladolid on Saturday. At the wrong end of the table, RC Celta de Vigo and RCD Espanyol could only draw at home to Sevilla FC and Albacete Balompié respectively, and both clubs remain in the bottom three.
SV Werder Bremen stayed seven points clear of FC Bayern München in the Bundesliga title race after a 1-0 victory against Eintracht Frankfurt. Valérien Ismaël's 80th-minute penalty saw off the struggling hosts. Bayern kept up the pressure as two goals from Roy Maakay secured a 2-1 home triumph against FC Schalke 04.
VfB Stuttgart also took a step towards next season's Champions League by winning 1-0 at SC Freiburg. Kevin Kuranyi's goal kept Stuttgart five points above Bayer O4 Leverkusen - 6-0 conquerors of 1. FC Kaiserslautern - in third place. Meanwhile, Hertha BSC Berlin were the only relegation-threatened team to win, 1-0 against VfL Wolfsburg.
Top two draw
Arsenal FC remain on course for the English Premiership title after a weekend in which they and nearest rivals Chelsea FC had be content with 0-0 draws against north-east opposition. Arsenal, whose lead is seven points, were held at Newcastle United FC on Sunday. Twenty-four hours earlier, Chelsea, the Gunners' Champions League nemesis, had been frustrated by Middlesbrough FC at home.
While third-placed Manchester United FC won 2-1 at Birmingham City FC, the other notable result was a 2-1 victory for Leeds United AFC at Blackburn Rovers FC. Leeds are now third from bottom but level on points with the two teams directly above them - Blackburn and Portsmouth FC - as the relegation battle intensifies.
In France, title-holders Olympique Lyonnais reclaimed the lead in the championship race by winning 1-0 at RC Strasbourg in Sunday's only game. Péguy Luyindula's second-half goal secured the spoils. Lyon have a one-point advantage over AS Monaco FC, the Champions League semi-finalists, who were held to a 0-0 draw at RC Lens on Saturday. Paris Saint-Germain FC consolidated third place with a 2-1 triumph at OGC Nice. Juan Pablo Sorín was the PSG matchwinner with an 88th-minute goal.
Italian league leaders AC Milan recovered from their European disappointment to beat Empoli FC 1-0. However, it took an 86th-minute penalty from Andrea Pirlo to divide the sides at the San Siro. Second-placed AS Roma, who are nine points behind but with a game in hand, defeated AC Chievo Verona 3-1 in a home fixture played in Palermo. Goals from John Carew and Antonio Cassano and an Andrea Barzagli own goal sealed the victory.
Champions League chasers
Elsewhere in Serie A, Juventus FC, who occupy third position, won 1-0 at home against S.S. Lazio, and Parma AC and FC Internazionale boosted their Champions League prospects with victories against US Lecce and AC Perugia.
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