La Liga Round-Up
By James Pearson
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Villarreal have moved third in La Liga following a 1-0 win over Albacete.Villarreal have moved third in La Liga following a 1-0 win over Albacete.
The visitors needed a result at Estadio El Madrigal to avoid the drop but Juan Roman Riquelme's penalty proved decisive.
Villarreal were gifted the chance to go ahead when Agustin Garcia's challenge on Jose Mari left the referee pointing to the penalty spot.
The loss was Albacete's 21st of the season and enough to send them into the Segunda Division next term.
Espanyol preserved their three-point lead over Valencia with a last gasp 2-2 draw at the Olympic Montjuic.
Che had been heading for a sensational win with just 10 men but Toni Velamazan's stunning volley snatched a last-gasp draw.
Rufete fired the visitors ahead through a fine breakaway goal after 19 minutes.
Valencia found themselves down a man when Andres Palop was shown the red card for seemingly bringing down Maxi Rodriguez.
That meant Santiago Canizares was brought back into the fray and his first job was to pick Raul Tamudo's penalty out of the net.
Minutes later Tamudo should have put the home side ahead only for an own goal from David Garcia to stun the home crowd.
Miguel Angel Angulo broke clear and his shot rebounded off Carlos Kameni into the defender and then into the empty net.
That goal looked set to decide a fiery encounter before Velamazen popped up in injury time to rescue a draw.
Mallorca boosted their prospects of avoiding the drop with a thrilling 4-3 success over Athletic Bilbao.
Francisco Farinos opened the scoring for the home side from the penalty spot.
Fernando Llorente levelled matters before Carlos Gurpegi put the visitors ahead with half an hour on the clock.
Victor Casadesus squared the contest at two apiece before Yoshito Okubo had the home side back in front.
Pablo Orbaiz equalised again for Athletic before Casadesus' second of the game sensationally settled the contest.
Early goals helped Racing Santander in the battle against the drop with a 2-1 win over Getafe.
First half efforts from Ayoze and Javier Arizmendi put the home side firmly in control of the clash.
Angel Vivar Dorado pulled one back after the break, but it proved nothing more than a consolation.
Real Zaragoza came from two goals down to claim a 2-2 draw against Deportivo La Coruna.
Francisco Xisco's brace put the visitors two-up at La Romareda, but they would not hold on.
David Generelo Miranda pulled one goal back and their cause was helped by Fabricio Coloccini's dismissal.
Just five minutes later Mirando bagged his second of the game and a share of the spoils.
Osasuna raced into a two-goal lead at Numancia, but ended up holding onto a 2-2 draw with nine men.
Early goals from Juan Ortiz and John Aloisi had the visiting fans rejoicing at their flying start.
Miguel Perez pulled one back before Jose Izquierdo was shown his marching order for violent conduct.
Inaki Munoz saw red for deliberate handball with substitute Miguel Lopez securing a share of the spoils.
Malaga claimed a 3-1 away success over Real Sociedad thanks in part to Fernando Baiano's brace.
Edgar opened the scoring with Baiano's double putting the visitors in control of the clash.
Imanol Agirretxe pulled one back for the home side, but it proved nothing more than a consolation.
Ricardo Oliveira's brace helped Real Betis to a 2-1 success over Atletico Madrid.
Oliveira's first came after 16 minutes and his second came from the penalty spot.
Melli's own goal gave the home side a way back into the game, but they could not muster an equaliser.
Click below for match summaries:
Atletico Madrid 1-2 Real Betis
Espanyol 2-2 Valencia
Mallorca 4-3 Athletic Bilbao
Numancia 2-2 Osasuna
Racing Santander 2-1 Getafe
Real Sociedad 1-3 Malaga
Real Zaragoza 2-2 Deportivo La Coruna
Villarreal 1-0 Albacete
Click here for the latest Liga table.