Controversial Cani goal earns Villarreal victory over Recre; Espanyol & Mallorca pick up big wins their bids for safety; Racing rip into Atletico

Villarreal 2 – Recreativo Huelva 1 (La Liga, April 23, 2009) The Yellow Submarine’s defence were caught out inside 60 seconds, failing to clear their lines with Javier Camunas sliding home the opener. But Recre could not hold out until the break, Joseba Llorente collecting a ball over the top and chipping the keeper with a superb lob. Villarreal turned the game around in the 66th minute, Cani picked up the ball on the right hand side of the box, beat a defender and then lifted the ball over the keeper with a delicate chip (over the line?) into the near post.

Sporting Gijon 0 – Espanyol 3 (La Liga, April 23, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) The Catalans took a 25th minute lead, Nene cracking home a perfect left-footed volley into the far bottom corner. The visitors grabbed a second 16 minutes from time as Roman Martinez settled their nerves. Jose Callejon wrapped things up two minutes later, before Gijon’s misery was compounded on 78 minutes when Torres David Barral was given his marching orders.

Racing Santander 5 – Atletico Madrid 1 (La Liga, April 23, 2009) Racing tore through Atletico’s porous defence in the first half, Christian Fernandez bundling home the opener from a free-kick after 9 minutes before Ezequiel Garay headed home the second from a similar free-kick just six minutes later. Mohammed Tchite then put the game to bed with a third before the break, again taking advantage of poor defending through Atletico’s soft centre. Diego Forlan pulled a goal back from the spot after Kin Ageuro was fouled on the hour mark, but Racing quickly restored their 3-goal cushion as Pedro Munitis netted the hosts fourth with a cute lob. Nikola Zigic added a humiliating fifth three minutes from time.

Mallorca 2 – Valladolid 0 (La Liga, April 23, 2009) A brace from Alhassane Keita helped Mallorca beat Valladolid as they continued their climb away from the relegation zone.