Barcelona turned in a resounding
performance to maintain its lead in the Spanish Primera League and Real
Madrid showed its resolve to stay in the title hunt with a thrilling
Ludovic Giuly scored twice as Barcelona held its six-point advantage
over Real with an emphatic 4-0 victory at Malaga.
The visitors overcame a slow start to stamp their mark on the game
thanks to French winger Giuly, who was the contest's dominant performer.
Giuly's goals in the 33rd and 68th minutes came after young defender
Presas Oleguer had given the Catalan giants a 21st-minute lead with his
first goal for the club.
Gerard Lopez added a 90th-minute score to seal the victory for Barcelona,
which will claim the league title by securing 10 points in its final
Shorthanded Madrid kept pace by recording a 2-1 come-from-behind home
win against Villarreal.
Juan Riquelme put the visitors ahead with a penalty kick in the 39th
minute, but Brazilian star Ronaldo leveled the contest with a header in
the 70th minute.
It looked like Real would have to be content with a draw after defender
Walter Samuel was red-carded in the 72nd minute. But Michel Salgado
slipped in a score two minutes later, allowing Madrid to lock up on
defense and preserve the crucial three points.
The loss by Villarreal (52 points) allowed FC Sevilla (55) and Espanyol
(52) to vault ahead in the race for the last two spots awarded to
Spanish clubs in next year's UEFA Champions League.
Sevilla posted a 3-1 victory at Athletic Bilbao while Espanyol won by
the same margin against Real Zaragoza.
Elsewhere, Osasuna topped Atletico Madrid, 1-0; Racing Santander routed
Deportivo La Coruna, 4-1; Getafe edged Levante, 1-0; Mallorca nipped
Numancia, 2-1; Real Sociedad halted Real Betis, 3-2; and Valencia downed