Real Madrid wastes chance to go top in Spanish soccer league

09:00, January 04, 2010      

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Real Madrid could only draw 0-0 away to Osasuna this Sunday night to help FC Barcelona maintains its two point lead at the top of the Spanish Primera Liga.


Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain (R) fights for the ball against Osasuna's Roberto Fernandez during their Spanish first division soccer league match at Reyno de Navarra stadium in Pamplona, Jan. 3, 2010. The match ended in a goalless draw.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)


Barcelona's 1-1 draw at home to Villarreal on Saturday night meant that a win for Manuel Pellegrini's side in Pamplona would have lifted them to the top of the table.

However, Osasuna's El Sadar Stadium has long been a difficult ground for Real Madrid to visit and Sunday proved to be no exception.

The home side, cheered on by 20,000 fanatical fans, made life very hard for the visitors and the first half was typified by a flurry of hard tackles as neither side was willing to give an inch.


Real Madrid's Esteban Granero (L) fights for the ball against Osasuna's Patxi Punal during their Spanish first division soccer league match at Reyno de Navarra stadium in Pamplona, Jan. 3, 2010. The match ended in a goalless draw. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)


Chances were few and far between and things didn't improve much in the second half as Real Madrid struggled to make its huge economic outlay in players tell.

Gonzalo Higuain had Real's best chance of the match after 65 minutes, but Osasuna Ricardo made a great save.

The result means that Valencia, who won on Saturday night close the gap on the top two, adding more interest to the title race in Spain.

Earlier in the day Mallorca moved into fourth place with its eighth successive home win of the season.

Second half goals from Julio Alvarez and Aritz Aduriz gave Gregorio Manzano's men a 2-0 win against a disappointing Athletic Club Bilbao.

Deportivo and Zaragoza played out a tedious 0-0 draw in the La Romareda Stadium.

The game came at the end of a difficult week for Zaragoza which saw the resignation of the club's entire Board of Directors. The atmosphere clearly affected the players, who created few chances against a strictly defensive Deportivo side.

Juanma Lillo was able to celebrate his first game as Almeria coach with a 1-0 win at home to bottom of the table Xerez.

Juanma Ortiz's powerful volley five minutes from time was enough to give Lillo's side all three points in a poor game where Xerez probably did enough to deserve at least a draw.

Javier Casquero also scored a late goal as Getafe's excellent season continued with a 1-0 win against Valladolid. Valladolid was unlucky to see Alvaro Bueno have a goal ruled out for an offside flag, which replays showed to be an error from the linesman.

Sporting Gijon came from behind twice to end a three game losing streak and draw 2-2 against struggling Malaga.

Finally, goals from Gustavo Colsa and Xisco gave Racing Santander only its second home win of the season in the Sardinero Stadium against Tenerife.

Source: Xinhua
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