The F.A. Cup bores me. Let’s talk about Spain, which returned to league action Saturday. In the yesterday’s marquee match-up, third-placed Espanyol Barcelona trounced fourth-placed Villareal, 3-0. All goals were scored in the first half, with Espanyol captain Raul Tamudo notching a brace Second-placed Barcelona saw off Mallorca on second half goals by Rafa Marquez and Samuel Eto’o. With the victory, Barca move four points behind leaders Real Madrid, who host Zaragoza tonight. Espanyol put some distance between themselves and Villareal, who can fall further if fifth-placed Atletico Madrid win at Deportivo tonight.
In Portugal’s bwinLIGA, fifth-placed Vitoria Setubal held second-placed Benfica to a 1-1 tie but the bigger surprise came in yesterday’s other game, between third-placed Sporting Lisbon and 10th placed Boavista Porto. Sporting went down, 2-0, and can now probably forget about whatever slim title hopes they were holding on to as they are nine points in arrears of FC Porto, who play tonight.
There was one game in the Greek Super League, which saw Olympiakos (Chelsea’s Champions League opponent in the Round of 16) return to first place thanks to a come-from-behind win at Iraklis Saloniki.