La Liga: Top 5 Players from Weekend Matches
Gameweek 26 of the top flight in Spain brought some impressive individual and team performances as the races for top-four places, avoiding relegation and even, just perhaps, the league championship started to hot up.
Real Madrid beat Barcelona in the Clasico, but elsewhere there were also important away wins for Athetlic Bilbao and Mallorca.
Half of La Liga's games ended in draws this weekend, but that's not to say there were an excess of dull fixtures—Real Sociedad and Real Betis' exciting 3-3 draw being a perfect example.
Here are the top five performers from another wonderful weekend of action from La Liga.
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Athletic Bilbao ran out 1-0 winners at Osasuna on Saturday, but they were far from convincing victors and had their goalkeeper to thank in part.
Osasuna dominated possession and created by far the better chances, but Markel Susaeta scored the only goal of the game after 63 minutes.
Bilbao were indebted to Gorka Iraizoz in their goal, and his two centre-backs Miki San Jose and Aymeric Laporte in front of him, for keeping Osasuna at bay later in the game.
Iraizoz made several good saves, including one from a close-range header when the scores were still level.
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Mallorca have left it late to attempt their escape from relegation, but a 94th-minute winner from Tomer Hemed at Granada might just have given them the impetus they needed.
Having taken only one point from their previous five games, and ranking 19th in the league table, Mallorca were in desperate need of a victory and came from behind in Andalucia to take the points.
Hemed led the line and worked hard for his team, despite not seeing much of the ball for long spells, and he must have thought he'd missed his chance when he toe-poked the ball against the post from just two yards in the closing moments of the game before hitting the rebound into the side netting.
However, Mallorca won a corner deep into stoppage time, and Hemed rose unmarked to power home a header which goalkeeper Tono couldn't keep out despite getting a hand to it.
It wasn't the most technical all-round performance ever, but Hemed's goal could be priceless in the scheme of the season for Mallorca, who still trail safety by four points.
Atletico Madrid would have been hoping for a win after seeing rivals Real beat Barcelona in the earlier fixture, but an away trip to Malaga was hardly the easiest of settings.
The game ended 0-0, but Atleti were certainly the better side and had most of the attacking play. Central to their good work at either end of the pitch was Mario Suarez, central midfielder and dictator of Atletico's play.
Defensively he was on the ball, making three tackles and two interceptions, but he was also extremely progressive on the ball, looking to move forward in possession and being effective in his passing.
Suarez played nine long passes, seven of which were accurate, and looked the most likely source of inspiration for his team, even though they were ultimately kept at bay.
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Keeping Suarez and co. at arm's length for the entire game was Malaga centre-back Weligton.
Alongside Martin Demichelis, and later Diego Lugano, he repelled everything that Atletico threw his way, making more clearances than anyone else in his team (seven) and completing five tackles as well.
Weligton marshalled the back line extremely well and was one of the main reasons that Malaga took a point and kept a clean sheet in a game when they were rather outplayed at home.
The entire Malaga defensive quartet played well, but Weligton was probably the best of all.
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Our final player of the week is Real Sociedad attacker Carlos Vela.
The Mexican forward was a big player in the entertaining 3-3 draw against Real Betis, scoring one and assisting another as the game swung first one way and then the other.
In the space of five minutes, Vela almost singlehandedly took the game from 0-2 to 2-2, rifling home his 12th league goal of the season and then providing the cross for Inigo Martinez to head in the equaliser.
Vela's terrific form has continued from before the winter break, and he has now scored or assisted nine goals in his last 10 league games. He might even have won this game for his team but saw a late chance blocked at close quarters.
Match stats from WhoScored.com