Tue, Mar 09, 2010 - Page 18 News List

LFP: Real Mallorca set to challenge top four

AFP , BARCELONA, SPAIN

Espanyol’s Jose Callejon, left, lifts the ball over Villarreal goalkeeper Diego Lopez during their La Liga match in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Real Mallorca moved to the fringes of the Champions League places after a comfortable 3-0 win over Sporting Gijon in La Liga on Sunday.

Mallorca are in fifth place, behind Sevilla because of their head-to-head record, after victory against an in-form Sporting side looking for their third consecutive win.

A long-range shot from Julio Alvarez surprised Sporting goalkeeper Juan Pablo Colinas to put Mallorca ahead and while they were always in control, they did not extend the lead until the last 15 minutes when Victor Casadesus and Pierre Webo wrapped up the match.

A Gaizka Toquero double gave Athletic Bilbao a 2-0 win over Valladolid to boost their European ambitions.

Athletic are now just one point behind sixth-placed Deportivo La Coruna, while the result has put Valladolid in further trouble at the other end of the table.

In Sunday’s late match, a last ditch header from Ibrahima Balde gave 10-man Atletico Madrid a 1-1 draw against Real Zaragoza.

Defender Jiri Jarosik put Zaragoza in front when he headed in a corner after seven minutes and it was the home side who continued to have the better openings, with Jose Antonio Reyes the only player from Atletico to pose any threat.

In-form Humberto Suazo missed a couple of guilt-edged chances, but with Reyes sent off for lashing out it appeared as though Zaragoza were set for victory, until substitute Balde scored deep into stoppage-time.

Bottom side Xerez won their first away match of the season with a 4-2 victory over Malaga.

Momo Figueroa put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot after just five minutes, but it appeared as though Malaga were on track for victory after goals from Sergio Duda and Valmiro Valdo put them into the lead.

Xerez enjoyed the luck they have lacked for much of this season as Momo scored their second penalty and then Leandro Gioda and Fabian Orellana completed the scoring.

Also on Sunday, Espanyol drew 0-0 with Villarreal and Osasuna were held 0-0 by Getafe.

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