La Liga Review: Real stretch their lead at top

Updated: January 30, 2012

Click here for the latest odds to win the Primera Division from Betfair

Real Madrid stretched their lead at the top of the Primera Division to seven points after a 3-1 win over Real Zaragoza, while Barcelona could only draw 0-0 with Villarreal.

There were some nervy moments at the Bernabeu on Saturday when Angel Lafita tapped in the first goal for bottom side Zaragoza in the 11th minute. Kaka equalised in the 32nd minute, however, when he got on the end of a through ball from Ricardo Carvalho to side foot the ball into the back of the net.

Cristiano Ronaldo put the home team in front when he tapped Mesut Ozil’s low cross from the right into the net just four minutes into the second half. The German midfielder turned from provider to scorer in the 55th minute with a powerful finish from the inside left.

Madrid’s win was followed up by a below-par performance from Barcelona that has become all too familiar away from home this season, as the champions failed to convert their dominance in possession into goals.

Barcelona’s grip on their title slipped even further despite chances from Cesc Fabregas and Lionel Messi, including a one-on-one chance for the latter with five minutes to go which the Barca number 10 spurned.

Madrid are now strong favourites to lift the league trophy by the end of the season at 1.34 as Barcelona’s away form continues to disappoint. Click here for the latest odds to win the Primera Division from Betfair

Elsewhere on Saturday, Athletic Bilbao secured three points away from home against Rayo Vallecano thanks to a hat-trick from Fernando Llorente; Michu and Arribas got the goals for Vallecano.

Espanyol climbed to joint fifth with Levante after their 1-0 win over Mallorca at home Espanyol’s victory came courtesy of a goal from on-loan Manchester City player Vladimir Weiss and left Mauricio Pochettino’s side just one goal behind Levante on goal difference.

Sunday’s fixtures saw big-spending Malaga pick up a 2-1 win at home to Sevilla after goals in the first 20 minutes from Welington and Sebastian Fernandez came either side of Antonio Luna’s 15th minute equaliser. Isco was sent off for Malaga with 15 minutes remaining but the home side held out for the win.

Third-place Valencia dropped points in the league yet again after a 2-2 draw with Racing Santander. It could have been worse were it not for the quick reflexes of ‘keeper Diego Alves.

Santander dominated but still found themselves 2-1 down with three minutes remaining until defender Bernado popped up with the equaliser.

Adrian put the home side in front in the first minute of the game, but a brace from Valencia striker Aritz Aduriz in the second half put Valencia in front before Bernado’s late equaliser. Both teams traded red cards in the dying minutes when Racing’s Pedro Munitis and Valencia’s Tino Costa were sent off.

Despite their poor form, Valencia are still strong favourites to finish in third place. Click here for the latest odds on the best of the rest in the Primera Division from Betfair

Real Sociedad hammered Sporting Gijon 5-1 at home thanks to a brace from David Zurutuza in the first three minutes, a goal from Gorka Elustondo and late goals from Mikel Aranburu and Antoine Griezmann. Miguel de las Cuevas got the consolation for Gijon to leave them 19th in the table.

Getafe climbed to eighth in the league with a 2-1 win away at Levante as goals from Daniel Guiza and Diego Castro secured the win before Ruben scored a late penalty for the home side.

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