Sporting Gijon and Rayo Vallecano ran to a 2-2 draw at El Molinon on Friday evening as Week 24 of the Primera Division campaign got underway with two of its relegation strugglers jostling to move up the standings.
The two sides opened the Week 24 slate with a close encounter, where Barcelona loanee Alen Halilovic was among the scorers alongside team-mate Miguel Angel Guerrero. But equalisers from Miku and Jozabed were enough to secure a point for the visitors.
Real Madrid are in action early on Saturday as they play host to Athletic Bilbao, but both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid will wait until Sunday before resuming La Liga action, facing Celta Vigo and Getafe, respectively.
Read on for a recap of all Friday's action, along with a breakdown of the Primera Division's Week 24 schedule and a look at the updated La Liga standings.
|Friday, Feb. 12||Sporting Gijon||2-2||Rayo Vallecano|
|Saturday, Feb. 13||Real Madrid||3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET||Athletic Bilbao|
|Saturday, Feb. 13||Villarreal||5:15 p.m. GMT/12:15 p.m. ET||Malaga|
|Saturday, Feb. 13||Valencia||7:30 p.m. GMT/2:30 p.m. ET||Espanyol|
|Saturday, Feb. 13||Deportivo La Coruna||9:05 p.m. GMT/4:05 p.m. ET||Real Betis|
|Sunday, Feb. 14||Real Sociedad||11 a.m. GMT/6 a.m. ET||Granada|
|Sunday, Feb. 14||Sevilla||3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET||Las Palmas|
|Sunday, Feb. 14||Eibar||5:15 p.m. GMT/12:15 p.m. ET||Levante|
|Sunday, Feb. 14||Getafe||5:15 p.m. GMT/12:15 p.m. ET||Atletico Madrid|
|Sunday, Feb. 14||Barcelona||7:30 p.m. GMT/2:30 p.m. ET||Celta Vigo|
|9||Deportivo La Coruna||23||6||13||4||31||28||+3||31|
Sporting were blessed to find themselves in front so early on Friday evening, but a mistake from right-back Quini saw Guerrero gifted the ball from just six yards out, and the striker repaid the favour by putting Sporting in front.
It was after just nine minutes that Halilovic came on as a substitute for the struggling Dani Ndi, and this change in particular would come to pay dividends for coach Abelardo Fernandez's side.
There were clear deficiencies in the Sporting defence, however, when a splitting pass found Pablo Hernandez in space, and the Rayo winger squared a ball across to Miku, who made no mistake one-on-one.
The two teams came out level for the second period, but it took less than a minute for Sporting wide man Jony to slip Halilovic inside the Rayo area, and he slid in his side's second of the match. That being said, Inside La Liga writer Javier J. Hernandez noted the Barca youngster had improvements to make:
Maybe it would come with age but #Halilovic sometimes makes bad mental decisions that shouldn't happen to a player with his skills.— Javier J. Hernández (@javierjotah) February 12, 2016
This time, Rayo's reply was far more swift, and an error in judgement from Sporting No. 1 Ivan Cuellar meant Jozabed had all the time he needed to equalise at 2-2 from the back post in the 58th minute. Broadcaster Deji Kofi Faremi pointed out Cuellar's mistake:
Jozabed can't stop scoring. The midfielder gets his 9th league goal of the season...but it's totally the fault of the Rayo GK.— Deji Kofi Faremi (@deejayfaremi) February 12, 2016
Rayo ended the match with almost 60 per cent of possession, per WhoScored.com, along with a greater share of the shooting opportunities, but the two teams could leave content with a share of the spoils.
Although the result means nothing in terms of table changes for either side, Sporting will be happy to see their recent unbeaten streak continue, while Rayo have now lost just once in their last seven games.