Atletico Madrid beat nine-man Valencia; Villarreal edge Depor in race for Europe; Xerex pick up a point; Sevilla held by Bilbao; Mallorca win at Valladolid

Atletico Madrid 4 – Valencia 1 (La Liga, February 28, 2010) (Longer highlights here.) Atletico continued their recovery from their woeful start to the season with a 4-1 home win against nine-man Valencia. The visitors took the lead through David Silva but then had Carlos Marchena sent off for a second yellow card on the half-hour mark and Diego Forlan equalised immediately from the penalty spot. Third-placed Valencia also had Miguel sent off late on as goals by Sergio Aguero, Forlan and Jose Manuel Jurado sealed victory for Atletico, who are now 11th and 10 points clear of the relegation zone.

Villarreal 1 – Deportivo La Coruna 0 (La Liga, February 28, 2010) Villarreal bounced back from a pair of resounding defeats to notch up a morale-boosting victory over a Deportivo side that are themselves in freefall. Nilmar provided the assist from the left-hand side, rolling the ball into the path of Joesba Llorente, who couldn’t miss from inside the six-yard box.

Racing Santander 0 – Almeria 2 (La Liga, February 28, 2010) A goal in either half did the damage as  Fernando Soriano converted a neat header at the back post from a wicked Albert Crusat delivery in the opening 45. Crusat himself finished off the hosts with twenty minutes remaining, rounding off a fine display with a left footed finish that nestled neatly in the corner of the net.

Sporting Gijon 3 – Osasuna 2 (La Liga, February 28, 2010) Miguel De Las Cuevas gave Sporting the lead after 17 minutes but Javad Nekounam levelled from the penalty spot to leave the scores even at the break. Osasuna looked to have taken control of the match as Krisztian Vadocz gave the Pamplona-based side the lead with a deflected effort four minutes into the second half. But Sporting produced a late revival to seal all three points thanks to a David Barral strike with 20 minutes remaining and Diego Castro’s penalty 10 minutes later.

Xerez 1 – Espanyol 1 (La Liga, February 28, 2010) Rock-bottom Xerez and Espanyol shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw at Estadio Municipal de Chapin. Dani Osvaldo gave Mauricio Pochettino’s side the lead after 18 minutes but the Barcelona-based side were pegged back late on by Mario Bermejo.

Valladolid 1 – Mallorca 2 (La Liga, February 28, 2010) Alberto Buemo gave the hosts the lead just after the break but Mallorca fought back through goals from defender Ruben and substitute Julio Alvarez.

Sevilla 0 – Athletic Bilbao 0 (La Liga, February 28, 2010) Sevilla are three points behind Valencia in fourth after a goalless draw at home to Athletic Bilbao. But Manolo Jimenez’s men will probably be happy with a point having spent almost the entire second half with 10 men after Romaric was sent off for a professional foul.