Real Madrid CF overcame the first-half sending off of Miguel Torres to edge out Real Murcia CF 1-0 thanks to a 58th-minute strike from Wesley Sneijder but Villarreal CF could not repeat the feat as they fell to UD AlmerÃƒÂa after goalkeeper Diego LÃƒÂ³pez was dismissed early on.
Madrid started proceedings six points clear of FC Barcelona but any hopes of a routine win against the side one off the bottom of the Primera DivisiÃƒÂ³n were diminished when Torres was dismissed for a foul on Dani Aquino 20 minutes in.
Bernd Schuster’s side recovered from the setback and lack of creative spark though to win the game when Sneijder pounced on a loose ball after a headed pass from RaÃƒÂºl GonzÃƒÂ¡lez to steer his shot into the top corner. The result opened up a nine-point buffer and Villarreal could not reduce it, or regain second spot, after Diego LÃƒÂ³pez was sent off for a foul on Albert Crusat on 17 minutes. Alvaro Negredo blazed the resulting spot-kick over the bar but the visitors’ luck gave out when Santiago Acasiete broke the deadlock six minutes from time after substitute goalkeeper Juan Carlos had parried Veljko Paunović’s header.
Fourth-placed Club AtlÃƒÂ©tico de Madrid were set to move three points clear of Real Racing Club Santander when Maxi RodrÃƒÂguez gave them the lead at Real Valladolid CF but Bartholemew Ogbeche (89) checked their progress. Sevilla FC are now three points behind them after their 3-2 win at RCD Mallorca but RCD Espanyol are struggling in their search for European football after a 1-0 home reverse against CA Osasuna.
RC Deportivo La CoruÃƒÂ±a’s revival continued with a 3-0 triumph against Athletic Club Bilbao while bottom side Levante UD scored a rare away success at Real Betis BalompiÃƒÂ© (1-0). Finally, Getafe CF drew 0-0 with a Real Zaragoza side now four points from safety.
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