Domingos Paciencia’s reign at Deportivo La Coruna was short-lived as a home defeat to Granada proved too much for the board, while there were big wins for Barcelona and Real Madrid.
DEPORTIVO LA CORUNA 0-3 GRANADA
He only took charge at the end of December, but six weeks later Domingos Paciencia’s tenure as manager of Deportivo ended.
A promising start of four points from his opening two matches had brought optimism to the Riazor camp, but a run of four consecutive defeats has seen the Depor board pull the trigger for the second time this season, with Fernando Vazquez the latest man to be trusted to haul Depor out of the relegation zone, with six points now separating them from safety.
A home defeat to fellow strugglers Granada proved the final straw for Depor, as an own goal from Carlos Marchena on the stroke of half-time put them on their way to another self-destruction.
Odion Ighalo doubled the advantage six minutes into the second half, before Manuel Pablo conceded a penalty and was sent off for dissent, with Guilherme Siqueira rubbing salt into the gaping wounds by converting the spot-kick to lift Granada six points clear, following back-to-back wins after their own managerial change.
BARCELONA 6-1 GETAFE
Any fears of Barcelona slowing down, with 2013 wielding mixed results, were dashed as they slaughtered hapless Getafe ahead of their Champions League showdown with AC Milan.
Alexis Sanchez opened the scoring after six minutes with his first goal of the season, and Messi netted for the 13th game running before the match was even a quarter of an hour long.
David Villa and Cristian Tello added further goals in the second half, before Alvaro Vazquez brought Getafe a little slice of joy with a consolation seven minutes from time.
However, Barca weren’t done there, as Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique adding the gloss with two late goals, as Barca jumped 12 points clear at the top and the title practically in the bag.
RAYO VALLECANO 2-1 ATLETICO MADRID
Barca were able to extend their lead as Atletico’s poor start to 2013 continued with another defeat on the road.
Rayo moved up to sixth in the table as they dominated from the off, taking an early lead through Lassana Bangoura, before doubling it after half an hour through the impressive Leo Baptistao, scoring his seventh of the season.
Falcao netted his 19th of the season in second half stoppage time, but it proved little more than a consolation for Atletico, who have now nearly lost as many games in this still young year than they did in the first half of the season.
REAL MADRID 4-1 SEVILLA
Real Madrid bounced back from last week’s defeat to Granada by delivering yet another pasting to a Sevilla side that always seem happy to roll over and have their bellies tickled by Los Blancos.
Cristiano Ronaldo in particular must relish facing Sevilla, as he notched his third consecutive hat-trick in this fixture, taking his tally to 24 for the season.
Karim Benzema had put Real in front before the Ronaldo show took over, but Real had one cloud cross their day as Gonzalo Higuain saw red for a second bookable offence.
The numbers didn’t remain uneven for long however, as Sevilla had Hedwiges Maduro sent off for two bookings, though they did still manage to pull a goal back on through Manu Del Moral.
LEVANTE 1-2 MALAGA
Malaga are back in the top four as they came from a goal down to beat a Levante side that are slowly sliding away from the hunt for European qualification following a run of poor form.
Jose Barkero had put Levante in front from the penalty spot after 27 minutes, but Malaga turned the game on its head thanks to Isco, who netted his own penalty ten minutes later, before completing the turnaround three minutes into the second half.
CELTA VIGO 0-1 VALENCIA
Valencia are hot on Malaga’s heels however, as their improvement since Ernesto Valverde took charge continued with a last-gasp triumph over Celta.
Nelson Valdez scored the only goal of the game in stoppage time to give Valencia the victory, keeping them just two points adrift of Malaga in their bid to secure Champions League football once again.
REAL ZARAGOZA 1-2 REAL SOCIEDAD
Real Sociedad are maintaining their push for European football as well, as another victory keeps them just a point behind sixth placed Rayo Vallecano.
Antoine Griezmann and Imanol Agirretxe netted first half strikes to secure the victory, coming either side of Hector Ortega’s dismissal for two bookable offences to ensure a very early end to his league debut for Zaragoza.
Apono netted a penalty in stoppage time to claim a consolation but Zaragoza’s recent form has seen them slip to within just four points of the relegation zone.
ATHLETIC BILBAO 0-4 ESPANYOL
Well, who saw this coming? Athletic have not been the force they were at San Mames this season, but to suffer such a heavy defeat at home to Espanyol shows either the level of dysfunction at Athletic, or the level of improvement that Espanyol have made under Javier Aguirre.
The game was deceptively even despite the scoreline, but Espanyol were able to run away with proceedings, with goals from Hector Moreno, Victor Sanchez, Christian Stuani and Joan Verdu. A further victory could see them enter the top half of the table, a far cry from the relegation-threatened team that Aguirre took over.
MALLORCA 1-1 OSASUNA
Osasuna were denied a big victory that would have done wonders for their survival hopes, as they conceded a late equaliser to a Mallorca side in an even worse position.
Lolo had given the visitors the lead with 15 minutes remaining, which had looked likely to be enough against goal-shy Mallorca, but their hopes were dashed in stoppage time, as Geromel strode forward to claim a big point for the Islanders, with four points separating them from 17th placed Osasuna currently.
REAL BETIS 0-0 VALLADOLID
Betis have slipped down to eighth after a run of four games without a win and they didn’t look any closer to claiming a three-point-haul in yet another lacklustre Monday night fixture in La Primera.
The game was only livened by two dismissals, with Valladolid’s Antonio Rukavina sent off for two bookable offences, despite the collision being between two Betis players, before Antonio Amaya evened up the numbers in stoppage time by picking up his second booking of the match as well.