La Liga round-up

Malaga beat Espanyol

March 25, 2012

Two goals in two minutes from Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Martin Demichelis saw Malaga produce a fine second-half comeback to claim a 2-1 victory at Espanyol.

Martin Demichelis fires home the winner for Malaga against Espanyol
GettyImagesDemichelis says Malaga are ready

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Two goals in two minutes from Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Martin Demichelis saw Malaga produce a fine second-half comeback to claim a 2-1 victory at Espanyol.

Philippe Coutinho had continued his great goalscoring form of late to put the hosts ahead with a clever free-kick midway through the first half.

The visitors may have considered themselves a bit hard done by to go in behind at the break after Enzo Maresca and Isco struck the post, but they made amends in the second half as Van Nistelrooy scored with his first touch after coming on as a substitute 15 minutes from time.

Two minutes later, Malaga grabbed the winner as Kiko Casilla could only parry Salomon Rondon's header into the path of Demichelis and he swept the ball into the net from close range.

Goals in each half from Raul Garcia and Nino saw Osasuna claim a 2-0 win and move to within a point of Levante as they enhanced their chances of playing European football next season at Ciutat de Valencia.

Garcia put the visitors in front with a wonderful finish from Nino's flick-on after 16 minutes before Andres Fernandez was called into action on numerous occasions to keep his side in front, most notably saving Xavi Torres' downward header and from Arouna Kone when the Ivorian was through one-on-one with the keeper.

Osasuna took advantage of the hosts' profligacy as Garcia and Nino again combined with 11 minutes remaining for the latter to score his first goal since October.

Villarreal beat Rayo Vallecano 2-0 to claim only their second away win this season and move six points clear of the relegation zone.

Marco Ruben headed the visitors in front on 29 minutes after Cani's initial effort had come off the underside of the bar. The Argentinian striker had a penalty brilliantly saved by Joel nine minutes into the second half, but despite some late pressure from Rayo, Angel Lopez wrapped up the three points with a composed finish five minutes from time.

Apono scored a penalty deep into stoppage time to hand Real Zaragoza a vital three points in their bid to avoid relegation as they triumphed 1-0 against Atletico Madrid.

In a game devoid of too many clear-cut chances, Atletico came closest to breaking the deadlock in the first period as Adrian Lopez and Radamel Falcao hit the woodwork in the same attack midway through the half.

Falcao came close again after the break as his close-range header drifted wide, but the game seemed destined for a draw until Diego Godin's naive challenge on Helder Postiga handed Apono a 93rd-minute penalty.

Alberto Lora struck what could prove to be a precious equaliser with 43 seconds left of regulation time as Sporting Gijon secured a 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao.

Stranded in the relegation zone before kick-off, Javier Clemente's men looked in deeper trouble when their hosts went ahead through Oscar de Marcos, having already missed a penalty through Iker Muniain.

However, Sporting stayed in the game and, although Lora's strike did not get them a deficit-eroding win, it means they remain just about in touch heading into the closing stages of the campaign.

Christian Stuani's 79th-minute equaliser gave Racing Santander a 1-1 draw at Real Betis to end their four-match losing streak but did little to ease their growing relegation worries.

Betis put themselves on course for their first win in five matches when Roque Santa Cruz fired them ahead in the 18th minute, but for the second successive match they were undone by a late leveller.

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