Messi and Pedro score for 2-0 win as champions go three points clear in title race.
|Mallorca have failed to win just two of their home matches this season [AFP]|
Real Mallorca continued their surprise European Champions League push with a narrow 3-2 home win over rivals Valencia to move level on points with fourth-placed Sevilla.
Mallorca made it 13 league wins from 15 at their fortress Ono stadium and capped a miserable week for Valencia who lost their Europa League quarter-final to Atletico Madrid on away goals on Thursday.
Gonzalo Castro put Mallorca into a sixth minute lead on Sunday and Cameroon forward Pierre Webo scored a second on 21 minutes as Mallorca went in 2-0 up at the break.
Jordi Alba pulled a goal back for Valencia two minutes after the interval but an own goal from Portuguese midfielder Manuel Fernandes, who was later sent off, made it 3-1 on 63 minutes.
Pablo Hernandez netted on 85 minutes to pull a goal back for Valencia and Mallorca survived a hairy few final minutes to net three vital points.
In the reckoning
Mallorca were expected to be fighting relegation from the Spanish Primera Division this season but coach Gregorio Manzano has pushed the islanders into the Champions League reckoning with just seven games left.
|La Liga results|
Saturday April 10
Sunday April 11
Ath Bilbao 4-1 Almeria
Despite the defeat Valencia are nestled in third five points ahead of Sevilla and Mallorca.
Elsewhere Athletic Bilbao surged back into the top six with a resounding 4-0 win over Almeria to move two points ahead of Villarreal as the race for Europe intensified.
It was a 10th home victory of the season for Bilbao who were four goals up after just 51 minutes with Javi Martinez grabbing a brace while Igor Gabilondo and Fernando Llorente were also on the
Spanish international Llorente also missed a penalty as Bilbao ran riot and Almeria only had a consolation goal from Argentine Pablo Piatti to show for their efforts.
Deportivo La Coruna fell five points behind Bilbao with a frustrating 1-1 home draw against struggling Racing Santander.
Ivan Riki scored in the first minute for Deportivo, who travel to Barcelona on Wednesday, but substitute Toni Moral levelled on 83 minutes to secure a valuable point for Racing.
Racing climbed up to 15th, six points above the drop zone while Deportivo’s European hopes are fading fast after just one point from the last 15.
Atletico Madrid may be in the Copa del Rey final and Europa League semi-finals – where they face Liverpool – but their league form is erratic and the club fell to a 3-0 defeat at Espanyol to fall eight points off sixth-placed Bilbao.
Victor Ruiz, Argentine Pablo Osvaldo and Ivan Alonso were on target for Espanyol who now finally look safe, 11 points above the relegation zone.