RC Deportivo La Coruña kissed their Primera División title hopes goodbye today when they were held to a 2-2 draw by Málaga CF.
Uruguayan striker Darío Silva grabbed the opener for Málaga, firing a first-time shot under José Molina just before the half-hour mark. But Deportivo defender Nourredine Naybet levelled the scores when he poked in after a goalmouth scramble on 38 minutes and the home side took the lead in the second half when Fran saw his venomous shot squirm under Málaga keeper Pedro Contreras.
An 82nd-minute penalty from Dely Valdés gave Málaga a share of the spoils, however, and left Deportivo seven points adrift of league leaders Valencia CF in third place, just two points ahead of FC Barcelona and RC Celta de Vigo. The late dismissal of Naybet after receiving his second yellow card only served to salt the wound.
Celta kept themselves in the running for the fourth UEFA Champions League berth with a fortunate 1-0 win at relegation-threatened Real Zaragoza. The only goal of the game came from a 53rd-minute Jesuli corner, which hit Zaragoza goalkeeper César Laínez and swerved directly into the net.
Real Betis Balompié lie sixth after a 3-1 win at RCD Mallorca, who have slipped back into the relegation places. The future also looks bleak for second-bottom CD Tenerife, who were beaten 5-1 at home by Real Valladolid. Rayo Vallecano eased their relegation worries by claiming a 4-2 home win over Athletic Club Bilbao,
Las Palmas beaten
Pablo Contreras's 81st-minute goal for Club Atlético Osasuna inflicted a 3-2 defeat on UD Las Palmas, leaving the islanders level on 39 points with third-bottom Mallorca. Two goals from Victor Salas gave Sevilla FC their first victory in three months, 2-0 against Deportivo Alavés.
Elsewhere, Club Atlético de Madrid won promotion to the top flight after two seasons of exile in the Segunda División. A 2-1 victory for CD Leganés over Recreativo de Huelva 2-1 assured Atlético - who were held 3-3 by Club Gimnàstic Tarragona yesterday - of a place among the big boys next season.