La Liga round-up

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Real Madrid retained their position at the top of La Liga with a sumptuous and stylish 5-1 victory over Sevilla in a rain-sodden Santiago Bernabeu.

David Beckham provided infectious spirit in a performance where he was also the architect of goals for Santiago Solari and Ronaldo.

Madrid opened the game sharply and their reward for invention and a surprising work ethic was a fifth minute strike from Argentine Solari.

Beckham picked the ball up in Sevilla territory and with poise and expertise cut through the visitor's backline, with a pass that the South American dispatched with consummate ease.

The rest of the half was scruffy and non-descript, with heavy conditions preventing the game from ever being allowed to flow.

Then, with the half entering its climax, Beckham's right wand drifted a perfect cross from his favoured flank onto the head of a grateful Ronaldo.

With the ease of a natural finisher, the Brazilian headed past Sevilla keeper Cesar with minimum fuss to hand Madrid a 2-0 first-half advantage.

To the visitors' credit they began the second-half with a rejuvenated endeavour and this was rewarded ten minutes into the restart when Brazilian Julio Babtista reduced the deficit with a penalty.

With characteristic uncertainty, Madrid failed to deal with a ball into their box and when Solari pushed Alejandro Maranon, the referee had no alternative but to point to the spot.

As if stirred by Sevilla's impertinence, Madrid then dispatched three goals of class and the exquisite skills befitting of European heavy weights.

First Zinedine Zidane showed that he has not only sublime skills but power and pace, as he raced onto a great pass from Guti to dink a magical finish over a helpless Cesar.

With a two-goal advantage Madrid began to play with their opponents, toying and teasing, before Ronaldo began a mesmeric run that ended with his shot being saved well by Cesar - only to fall into the path of a well-advanced Michel Salgado, who finished like a seasoned striker for his first goal in three and half years.

Madrid finished the contest with 15 shots on target and the final of these resulted in the talismanic Ronaldo registering his second and Los Merengues' fifth of an uneven contest.

Earlier in the day Valencia had usurped, at least temporarily, Real Madrid at the summit of La Liga table following a comprehensive 3-0 away victory at Racing Santander.

Racing got off to the worst possible start when Diaz Ayoze's own goal handed Valencia an eighth minute lead which the home side failed to recover, as Che cruised to victory.

The title-chasing club eased to a three goal second-half advantage, thanks to a clinically taken brace from Vicente.

Basement club Real Murcia, doomed to the Segunda Division next season, had a rare moment of joy in a miserable season, as goals from Jose Luis Accriari and Michel resulted in a 2-0 victory over Mallorca.

Murcia have only previously recorded two other victories in La Liga this season and Mallorca will now be looking nervously over their shoulder, as they slip further into a relegation dog-fight.

Vallodolid's mid-table clash with Osasuna ended in a predictable stalemate - with Roberto Losarda's strike for Vallodolid being cancelled out by a second-half Richard Morales leveller.

Villarreal and Atletico Madrid failed to yield a goal between them, as the two Uefa Cup place chasers toiled, but failed to excite, in an often ill-tempered affair that finished goaless.

Relegation threatened Celta Vigo slumped to another defeat, after home advantage failed to prevent Real Zaragoza recording a comfortable 2-0 victory.

Two goals in the last fifteen minutes from Rubio Alvaro and Yorge Yordi was enough to secure an important victory for Zaragoza, who now pull further away from the drop-zone.

Albacete will be ruing Diego Alonso's 81st minute equaliser for Malaga, having taken the lead through Pereira Fabiano in the first-half, as the score finished 1-1.

In-form Barcelona were left frustrated bystanders this weekend, as their game against Real Betis was rained off.