Athletic Bilbao put five past Las Palmas, Atletico Madrid had two penalties saved against Osasuna and Deportivo La Coruna beat fellow strugglers Malaga.
Athletic Bilbao 5-1 Las Palmas
Athletic Bilbao closed the gap on Villarreal to a solitary point with a comprehensive 5-1 victory over Las Palmas on Friday.
Mikel San Jose got the ball rolling in just the seventh minute as he headed in a corner, before Iker Muniain doubled Athletic’s lead moments later from a free kick, which he bent into Raul Lizoain’s bottom-right corner.
Pedro Bigas pulled one back for Las Palmas, his header going in off far post after a great leap and glance, but Inaki Williams’ low cross was soon bundled over Lizoain by Aritz Aduriz.
Legendary goalkeeper Sepp Maier became the third player after Paolo Maldini and Matt Le Tissier to be awarded Athletic’s ‘One Club Man’ award during the break.
Another one club man, Muniain, volleyed hard and low into Lizoain’s bottom left for 4-1, and the rout was completed by Aduriz, who rounded off San Jose’s cutback.
Deportivo La Coruna 2-0 Malaga
Deportivo La Coruna ended a run of four games without a win on Saturday, courtesy of a 2-0 victory over League rivals Malaga.
An uneventful first half was followed by a tribute during the interval for Depor legend and ex-Brazil midfielder Mauro Silva, which seemed to kick-start the Galicians.
Indeed, just two minutes in, Luisinho’s cross was headed home by Joselu, although the striker was soon substituted, prompting a frosty response from the striker.
His replacement Florin Andone had an angled shot pushed away by Carlos Kameni, but Pedro Mosquera made sure of the result when he touched in a cross from the right.
The bar then denied Ignacio Camacho’s long-range piledriver from a Malaga consolation.
Atletico Madrid 3-0 Osasuna
Atletico Madrid opened a three-point lead in third place after a 3-0 win against basement boys Osasuna on Saturday, despite two missed penalties.
Yannick Carrasco was Atleti’s hero in the absence of Antoine Griezmann as his shot, low and hard from distance, broke the deadlock.
Carrasco then headed a left-wing cross past Sirigu to double Los Colchoneros’ advantage, although the goalkeeper somehow kept out Fernando Torres’ point-blank header at the near post.
It was left to Filipe Luis, who scored his third La Liga goal in four games, bending a finish across Sirigu.
Tiago Mendes made his first appearance of 2017 as a substitute, having finally overcome his knee injury, and it could’ve got even better for Atleti, who were awarded two spot-kicks in the final two minutes of normal time.
Oier Sanjurjo first tripped Angel Correa in the box, but Sirigu guessed correctly to his left to block Carrasco’s penalty, before the Italian denied Thomas Partey after Miguel de las Cuevas blocked the midfielder’s pass with his hand.