Real Madrid still chase Barcelona in La Liga
Madrid, April 27 (IANS): Javier Hernandez was again the hero as Real Madrid kept up their chase of FC Barcelona for the La Liga title with an exciting 4-2 win away to Celta Vigo.
The Mexican, who had scored the goal which qualified Real Madrid for the Champions League semifinal midweek, netted twice in an end-to-end game on Sunday, reports Xinhua.
Nolito put Celta ahead only for Toni Kroos and Hernandez to turn the tables on Celta. Although Santi Mina made it 2-2 before the half hour, James Rodriguez and Hernandez's second assured Real Madrid came away with the points.
Sevilla kept up the pressure in the battle for a place in next season's Champions League with another assured display. First half goals from Vicente Iborra and Dani Carrico put them on the way to a comfortable 2-0 win at home to Rayo Vallecano just three days after qualifying for the semifinals of the Europa League.
Malaga and Deportivo la Coruna produced a 1-1 draw which does little to help Malaga's aim of finishing in seventh place or the visitors' aim of pulling away from the danger zone.
Norbet Amrabat opened the scoring for Malaga with a powerful shot just after the break before Oriol Riera's powerful header assured a share of points on the hour.
Meanwhile, goals from Thievy and a Verza penalty gave Almeria their second home win in succession since Sergi Barjuan took over as first team coach and gave them a massive boost in their battle to avoid relegation.
Eibar have won just once in the second half of the season and are edging dangerously close to the drop zone.
Saturday afternoon saw league leaders Barcelona take a 2-0 win away to local rivals Espanyol. Barcelona produced an outstanding first 45 minutes and were 2-0 up after 25 minutes thanks to excellent goals from Neymar and Lionel Messi, who both finished off flowing team moves in emphatic style.
Everything changed 10 minutes after the break when Jordi Alba was sent off by referee Mateu Lahoz for dissent and Espanyol tried to push forward but without creating clear chances and Barcelona never really looked in trouble.
Atletico Madrid strengthened their grip on third place as Antoine Griezmann netted his third double in three weeks to give them a routine 3-0 win at home to Elche. The visitors held on for 54 minutes before Griezmann opened the scoring and after Raul Garcia scored Atletico's second 10 minutes later, the result was never in doubt.
Levante took a vital three points in their battle against relegation as they won 1-0 away to Getafe thanks to a goal from Victor Casadesus while Real Sociedad and Villarreal drew 0-0.