GETAFE, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 04: Sergio Ramos (L) and Pepe of Real Madrid celebrate after Ramos scored Real's opening goal against Getafe during the La Liga match between Getafe and Real Madrid at Coliseum Alfonso Perez stadium on February 4, 2012 in Getafe, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images) at Coliseum Alfonso Perez on February 4, 2012 in Getafe, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

La Liga, Week 21: Real Madrid, Barcelona Both Win

Barcelona break their streak of draws with a 2-1 win against Real Sociedad, but Real Madrid's victory at Getafe means that the defending champions remain seven points back.

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9 Total Updates since February 4, 2012
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La Liga Saturday, Week 21: Mallorca Win, Two Other Matches End In Draws

All of the fun in La Liga today was not in the big two. Real Madrid and Barcelona both won, but it wasn't in their usually brilliant manner. Their wins came in a couple of sloppy matches that nobody could have been particularly entertained by. Elsewhere though, there was plenty of fun.

Athletic Bilbao 3-3 Espanyol

Juan Albin scored in the waning seconds to snatch a point for Espanyol in a thrilling match against Athletic Bilbao at San Mames. With it looking like a sure win for the home side, Albin got free thanks to a pass from Kalu Uche and rocketed a shot off the underside of the crossbar and in to secure a draw for Espanyol in the 90th minutes.

It was Athletic who dominated the early portion of the match and Oscar de Marcos made the scoreboard show it with a 26th minute goal. That lead lasted only seven minutes though as Ndri Romaric equalized then a Vladimir Weiss wondergoal put Espanyol in front just before the half. Fernando Llorente got the home side level again at the hour mark before a Javi Martinez goal put Athletic on the road to a win with 25 minutes to go, but Albin's last equalizer ensured that the points would be split.

Levante 1-1 Racing Santander

Levante no longer look like the Levante side that started the season so incredibly. They continue to drop points and now they look unlikely to even keep pace with Valencia for third place after failing to get a home win on Saturday against Racing Santander. Around Kone headed Levante in front in the first half, but they wasted several other good opportunities and they were made to pay for it Manuel Arana equalized in the second half for the 1-1 draw that will help Racing's bid to avoid relegation.

Mallorca 1-0 Real Betis

Mallorca were sent down to nine men, but they still managed to hang on for a 1-0 victory at Son Moix. Chori Castro proved to be the hero as his brilliant free kick struck the post and went across the line for a first half Mallorca lead. It looked like Real Betis' chances of winning were gone when Mario was sent off in the 75th minute, but then red cards to Ivan Ramis and Victor Casadesus made it 10 vs. nine with Betis a man up. They couldn't find an equalizer though and Mallorca earned all three points.

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Barcelona Vs. Real Sociedad, 2012 La Liga: Barcelona Earn Narrow Win

Barcelona, faced with a ten-point gap between themselves and league leaders Real Madrid, needed a win against Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou. Normally, that would be an easy task for the European champions, but the hosts were oddly profligate throughout the match and things were therefore far more stressful than Lionel Messi and company have liked.

Barcelona fielded a very young squad, including Jonathan dos Santos, Cristian Tello, Thiago Alcantara and Isaac Cuenca, and the young guns did well, with Tello opening the scoring seven minutes in with a very nice finish. After the opener, though, they just couldn't seem to find the back of the net - in one implausible series of events Cuenca rattled the crossbar before Tello was denied a goal by the ball deflecting off the obviously offside Dani Alves on the line before hitting the back of the net, and on another Messi rounded Claudio Bravo only to see his shot blocked.

Messi wasn't about to keep wasting chances, though, and he finally got the ball into the back of the net when he volleyed a neat cross by Dani Alves in at the near post, but Barcelona couldn't relax - their lead was instantly reduced to one goal when former Arsenal striker Carlos Vela raced onto a Antoine Griezmann through pass and slotted the ball past Victor Valdes to make it 2-1.

Forced to made defensive substitutes, Pep Guardiola introduced Sergio Busquets for dos Santos, a move that backfired in spectacular fashion when the World Cup winner was stretchered off eight minutes later with a horrible-looking cut. Although Barcelona would see out the win, we're still waiting on news about Busquets - if he goes down their already small squad could be stretched to breaking point.

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Getafe Vs. Real Madrid, 2012 La Liga: Los Merengues Expand Lead On Barcelona

Real Madrid were not anywhere near their best on Saturday evening, but a very average performance against Getafe was enough to secure three points. Their opponents were much less than average, struggling to get the ball forward and failing to get a shot on target for the entire duration of the match. Los Merengues scored early on a set piece, and they more or less sat on their lead after that to coast to a 1-0 win.

Getafe defended fairly well -- save for one set piece -- but seemed content to merely avoid embarrassment. The one goal and ultimate winner came in the 18th minute, on a header by Sergio Ramos. Mesut Özil provided the assist with an out-swinging corner kick, and Ramos hit a perfect and virtually unsavable header into the back of the net.

Madrid appeared to double their lead in stoppage time when Cristiano Ronaldo tapped in a pass from substitute Jose Maria Callejon, but it was ruled out for offside. That was the second best highlight. Ugly wins are still wins, however, and the pressure is on Barcelona to grab all three points in their match.

For more on Los Merengues, check out Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid.

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Barcelona Vs. Real Sociedad, 2012 La Liga: Lineups

With it looking as though Real Madrid will go ten points clear of Barcelona at the top of the table with a win over Getafe, it's vital for the defending champions to get a win against Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou in order to keep the pace. On paper, that won't be too difficult - Sociedad are in 13th place and the Catalans have only dropped two points at home all year. Of some interest is Barcelona's injury-hit starting lineup, but when you can respond to absences in the centre by deploying Thiago Alcantara and Cesc Fabregas... well, things aren't so bad.

Barcelona starting lineup (4-3-3): Victor Valdes; Adriano, Javier Mascherano, Carles Puyol, Dani Alves; Jonathan dos Santos, Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara; Lionel Messi, Isaac Cuena, Cristian Tello.

Substitutes from: Jose Manuel Pinto, Ferard Pique, Eric Abidal, Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Alexis Sanchez, Sergi Roberto.

Real Sociedad starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Claudio Bravo; Cadamuro, Inigo Martinez, Mikel Gonzalez, Carlos Martinez; Mikel Aranburu, Markel Bergara; Antoine Griezmann, Ruben Pardo, Xabi Prieto; Diego Ifran.

Substitutes from: Javier Ariel Rosada, Imanol Agirretxe, Carlos Vela, Daniel Estrada, Joseba Llorente, Vadim Demidov, Tono.

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Barcelona Vs. Real Sociedad, 2012 La Liga Week 21: Blaugranas Need Rebound, Can't Drop Points

Barcelona and Real Sociedad are both littered with injury issues ahead of the Blaugranas' must-win game at Camp Nou.

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Getafe Vs. Real Madrid, 2012 La Liga Week 21: Is Esteban Granero A Key Contributor?

Real Madrid are without a number of key players, but will still be heavy favorites to beat Madrid rivals Getafe.

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