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Sanchez under pressure as Atletico crash

Atletico Madrid crashed 2-0 at home against relegation-threatened Malaga on Sunday as the pressure piled up on under-fire coach Quique Sanchez.

Malaga took an early lead with an unmarked Sergio Duda firing home after just three minutes.

They were playing the more composed football and Atletico had keeper David De Gea to thank for not conceding more as Malaga used the wings to get behind the Atletico defence.

In the second half, Atletico came back into the match but despite their quality going forward they struggled to break down the Malaga defence and had to resort to shots from distance.

On the counter-attack Malaga grabbed a second though through Javi Lopez as the visitors moved three points off the relegation zone.

A brace from Carlos Calvo helped bottom side Xerez come from behind to beat high-flying Mallorca 2-1.

Xerez had only one win to their name all season but they took the game to Mallorca from the start.

Although they had the bulk of the possession Pierre Webo scored against the run of play for Mallorca mid-way through the first half.

In the second half, Xerez deservedly drew level with Calvo firing a right-foot rocket home from 30 yards and then completed the turnaround with a second 12 minutes from time.

There was also an upset with Villarreal losing 2-0 to Osasuna with Juanfran Torres scoring both goals while Getafe’s push for a place in Europe suffered a setback as they were held to a goalless draw by Racing Santander.

Zaragoza came from behind to beat Tenerife 3-1 and gain three crucial points in their survival battle.

Juanlu Hens gave the home side the lead after the break but Zaragoza responded in the last 15 minutes with goals from Humberto Suazo, Adrian Colunga and Angel Lafita.

In the other relegation battle Valladolid drew 1-1 against Almeria with Cesar Arzo equalising for the home side after Albert Crusat scored the opener.

On Saturday, Karim Benzema scored a brace as Real Madrid beat Deportivo La Coruna 3-1, their first win at the Riazor in almost 20 years.

Following Barcelona’s 1-0 win over Sporting Gijon earlier in the evening, Real were desperate not to allow their rivals to escape at the top.

Esteban Granero headed Real in front after 13 minutes with the game played out in the home side’s half.

Raul Gonzalez had the chance to add to the lead with a close-range volley before a moment of real quality from Jose Maria Guti.

Through on goal, instead of shooting on his weaker right foot, he back-heeled the ball into the path of Benzema to slot home.

In a late rally Ivan Riki scored from the penalty spot for Deportivo but Benzema had the last word with a goal in injury-time.

Barcelona saw Pedro Rodriguez score the only goal at home to Sporting Gijon when he latched on to a through ball by Andres Iniesta.

Valencia are well placed to qualify for the Champions League but they face a crucial game later Sunday against fellow European hopefuls Sevilla who have dropped off the pace since Christmas after losing three of their last four matches.

Sun 31 January, 2010
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