Real madrid remain top after battling win against Athletic Club

13:28, November 21, 2010      

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Real Madrid remain top of the Spanish Primera Liga table on Saturday after beating Athletic Club Bilbao 5-1 in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

In the end, Madrid ran out as comfortable winners, but Athletic pushed them harder than any other side on their home turf this campaign and had it not been for a controversial penalty in Madrid's favor just before the hour, things could have been different.

While Jose Mourinho repeated his starting 11 for Real Madrid, his opposite number Joaquin Caparros decided to bring the rugged Fernando Amorebieta into the side at left back.

The Madrid based press had talked about Real's interest in Athletic striker Fernando Llorente all week and the big forward almost opened the scoring after two minutes with a neat turn and shot only to see Pepe clear his shot off the line.

Madrid opened the scoring after 19 minutes when Higuain turned in the area to beat Gorka with a low shot after some indecisive defending.

Sergio Ramos missed a headed chance to double the lead before Iker Muniain brought a magnificent save from Casillas.

The Madrid keeper made another brilliant save on the half hour to deny Llorente and from the resulting counter attack Madrid doubled their lead as a one-touch move left Ronaldo through to beat the Athletic keeper with a low shot.

It looked grim for Athletic, but Llorente pulled a goal back from close range five minutes before halftime after great work from Andoni Iriola.

Athletic made a positive change at the break bringing on young left back Aurtenetxe for Ustariz and was rewarded when Susaeta produced another flying save from Casillas.

However, referee Undiano Mallenco did Madrid a favor when he adjudged Susaeta's challenge on Di Maria to be a penalty after 57 minutes.

Surprisingly Sergio Ramos took the penalty rather than Ramos and he scored, although the penalty was probably illegal because the defender stopped on his run up.

There was no arguing about Madrid's fourth goal as Gorka made a horrible mess of Ronaldo's free kick from around 30 yards to gift the home side the goal that assured their win.

Ronaldo completed his hat trick with another penalty in injury time.

Source: Xinhua


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