By Andy Hall
RCD Espanyol took advantage of FC Barcelona's inactivity to move within six points of their city neighbours at the top of the Primera División thanks to a 2-1 win against Real Racing Club de Santander, although Sevilla FC lost ground after being defeated 2-1 by CD Numancia.
With Barça facing Real Betis Balompié on Sunday night, Miguel Ángel Lotina's side moved a point ahead of Real Madrid CF, who play Albacete Balompié tomorrow. Dani García gave Espanyol the lead in the eleventh minute, capitalising on good work from Ferrán Corominas to score from close range.
Javi Guerrero flung himself to pull the scores level with a diving header on 55 minutes then hit the post soon after as Racing stepped up a gear. Maxi Rodríguez scored the winner from the penalty spot with 20 minutes to go, before his evening turned sour as he was sent off for two yellows.
RC Deportivo La Coruña recorded a morale-boosting win at home to high-flying Levante UD. The Galicians carved out the better chances, Albert Luque hitting the crossbar with an audacious lob in the first half before Juan Carlos Valerón shot just wide early in the second half.
Diego Tristán did finally break the deadlock in the 56th minute with a twice-taken spot-kick after César Martin had been fouled by Jesule Barbadilla. Both sides had further chances, but Deportivo held on to secure three points that moved Javier Irureta's team into the top half of the table.
Champions Valencia CF failed to win for the tenth successive game as they were held to a scoreless draw by Real Zaragoza. Claudio Ranieri's side slipped ten points behind the leaders having played a game more.
Athletic Club de Bilbao picked up a 2-1 win against Villarreal CF to climb out of the relegation zone, Ismael Urzaiz striking a powerful opener seconds into the second half. The same player quickly doubled the home side's advantage and, although José
Mari Romero pulled a goal back for Villarreal on the hour, the away team's hopes were effectively ended by the late dismissal of Sebastián Battaglia.
Getafe CF also recorded an important win, Francisco Gallardo scoring the only goal of their home game with Málaga CF in the 46th minute to help his side move up to 16th position. Real Sociedad de Fútbol dropped to 17th after suffering a 1-0 defeat at CA Osasuna, Richard Morales giving the Pamplona club three much-needed points.
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|Last updated: 31/01/2012 10:14 CET|