Atletico Madrid followed up their nail-biting penalty shootout win over Bayer Leverkusen by comfortably beating neighbours Getafe 2-0 at the Vicente Calderon.
Fernando Torres – who scored the final penalty against the Germans – opened the scoring in the third minute following a free-kick and Tiago doubled the advantage just before half-time, also converting from a set-piece.
This was Atletico’s first league win in four matches following three successive draws and keeps them one point behind third-placed Valencia, while Getafe slumped to a third defeat in four matches under interim coach Pablo Franco and are just four points above the relegation zone.
Rayo Vallecano picked up a fourth straight Primera Division home win as Gael Kakuta’s first-half header proved enough to beat Malaga, who finished the game with ten men. The Chelsea loanee struck the only goal of the game midway through the first half and Paco Jemez’s side hung on for the 1-0 win without too much trouble, and they were given a further boost when Marcos Angeleri was shown a second yellow card in the second half.
The win sees Rayo take another stride towards securing survival in the top flight for a fourth consecutive year, as they move on to 35 points, nine fewer than Malaga, who stay in seventh place.
Substitute Charles Dias struck late on to give Celta Vigo a deserved 1-0 victory at Levante. The visitors squandered a number of clear chances to break the deadlock at the Ciutat de Valencia stadium and looked to be heading for a fourth consecutive match without a win until the Brazilian striker tapped home a Nolito cross in the 87th minute.
The win takes Celta up to ninth place in the Primera Division table and on to 35 points, but Levante remain just one place above the relegation zone.
Athletic Bilbao continued to keep the pressure on the teams above them with a deserved 2-1 victory over Almeria at San Mames. Athletic have been the form team in La Liga over the last few weeks and Saturday’s win, secured by goals from Xabier Etxeitia and Mikel Rico in the opening half-hour, was their fifth on the trot and saw them move to within five points of Malaga in seventh.
Eibar finally brought their long losing streak to an end after holding fellow strugglers Granada to a goalless draw at the Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes. Eibar had lost their last eight matches to be sucked into the relegation dogfight, but they picked up what could be a very valuable point from their trip to Andalusia.
The Basque minnows, playing in the Primera Division for the first time, move three points clear of the bottom three with the draw, while Granada remain in the bottom two.