Real Madrid made up some ground on
Barcelona in the Spanish title race with a 1-0 victory over Malaga
thanks to a second-half goal by Roberto Carlos.
Barcelona's 1-0 victory at Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday night put
them a massive 14 points ahead but Madrid, looking set for a second
successive season without silverware, are now just 11 points in arrears
The three points eased the pressure on Madrid coach Wanderley Luxemburgo
because the 29-times Spanish champions had only earned four points in
their previous five fixtures.
Madrid's players were whistled by a section of their own fans when they
ran on to the Santiago-Bernabeu pitch in a clear indication of their
After an uneventful first half, Madrid went ahead thanks to the superb
left foot of Roberto Carlos, who, fed by Ronaldo, found the net from
fully 25 metres with half an hour to go.
However Barcelona are still fully in command following their Deportivo
Although Rafa Marquez was sent off for a second yellow card early in the
second half as they defended Ludovic Giuly's 10th-minute opener, Frank
Rijkaard's men held on to win.
It was Frenchman Giuly's sixth goal of the season for the Catalan club,
and it was the only one in what was an otherwise eventful match.
Following a freekick by Marquez, Deportivo keeper Gustavo Munua punched
the ball away. Though Barca's Brazilian defender Sylvinho intercepted
the ball in the area, he completely mistimed his shot but Giuly, surging
forward at the far post, got on to the end of it to find the net.
A few minutes before half-time, Deco nearly added a second when his shot
from just outside the area took a flighted deflection on to Munua's
Marquez's marching orders came in the 52nd minute but despite being a
man down Barcelona managed to hold on for the win.
Sevilla beat Real Mallorca 1-0 on Sunday but the match was marked by the
hospitalisation of Venezuelan international Juan Arango. Arango lay
unconscious for several moments on the pitch after being elbowed in the
head by Sevilla defender Javi Navarro.
Valencia meanwhile are still in with a chance of qualifying for the
Champions League next season following a 3-1 win over Getafe, also on
Sunday, with goals from Francisco Rufete, Marco Di Vaio and Mista.