Real Madrid battles through in Gijon to stay top in Spain

09:11, November 15, 2010      

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Gonzalo Higuain scored a late winner to keep Real Madrid top of Spain's BBVA Primera Liga on Sunday.

The game had been preceded by an exchange of declarations between Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho and his opposite number at Sporting, Manuel Preciado and that was reflected on the pitch as both sides held nothing back.

Madrid had the best chances, but Sporting keeper Juan Pablo made a string of saves, but he was at fault eight minutes from time when he left Karim Benzema's header at the feet of Higuain, who only had to push the ball home from close range.

It was a vital win for Madrid following Barcelona's thrilling 3-1 triumph over Villarreal on Saturday night.

David Villa opened the scoring for Barcelona, but Nilmar leveled before half time after the referee had wrongly ruled out a Pedro goal for an inexistent offside.

Villarreal made Barca suffer, but Leo Messi was again the hero of the Camp Nou with two second half goals.

The first was a neat finish over Diego Lopez following a quickly taken free kick, while the second saw him finish from close range from Pedro's mishit shot.

Sunday saw Sevilla defeat bottom of the table Zaragoza 2-1. Luis Fabiano opened the scoring after 29 minutes and although Nico Bertolo equalized eight minutes into the second half, a dreadful mistake from Jarosik allowed Alvaro Negredo to win the game for Sevilla in the 90th minute.

Hercules came back from a goal down to defeat Real Sociedad 2-1. Real Sociedad were excellent in the first half and deserved their lead thanks to Greizman.

However, David Trezeguet got Hercules back into the game just two minutes into the second half and Drenthe ensured the points stayed in Alicante with a direct free kick after 52 minutes.

Manuel Pellegrini saw Malaga beat Levante 1-0 in his league debut as coach. Eliseu scored in the second half to lift Malaga out of the bottom three while leaving Levante second from bottom.

Meanwhile the matches between Racing Santander and Espanyol and Mallorca against Deportivo la Coruna both ended in 0-0 draws.

Saturday saw Diego Forlan return to form with two goals that helped Atletico Madrid cruise to a comfortable 3-0 win at home to Osasuna. Kun Aguero also scored against the visiting side, who ended with 10 men following Nacho Montreal's red card.

Athletic Club Bilbao had defenders Koikili and Javi Castillo sent off, but still defeated Almeria 1-0. Athletic played 45 minutes with 10 men and the last 20 with just nine, but were rarely threatened by their rivals.

Source: Xinhua


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