Real Madrid alone in second place; Sevilla, Valencia beaten

January 26th, 2009 - 2:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, Jan 26 (DPA) Real Madrid are now alone in second place in the Spanish Primera Liga after beating Deportivo Coruna 1-0 at home.The tight win Sunday, coupled with Sevilla’s 0-2 defeat at home to Racing Santander earlier in the day, means that Real are now three points above third-placed Sevilla.

Real have 41 points from 20 games, 12 less than record-breaking leaders Barcelona, who thrashed Numancia 4-1 Saturday.

Sevilla are third with 38 points, while Valencia and Villarreal share fourth place with 34 apiece.

This was Real’s fifth successive win, during which they have conceded just one total goal.

New coach Juande Ramos has certainly tightened up the Real defence, though not all of the fans in the Estadio Bernabeu appreciate the counter-attacking style he has imposed.

The only goal came in the 40th minute, when veteran captain Raul headed in a centre from Lassana Diarra, after the Deportivo defence had failed to clear a corner.

The lively Arjen Robben came close to increasing Real’s lead. Toward the end, however, the hosts were pushed back into defence to the chagrin of the Bernabeu.

Deportivo left-back Filipe Luis hit the Real crossbar, and Iker Casillas was forced to pull off a couple of sharp saves.

Casillas said that “it was not the best performance that we have ever given. But the important thing is that we continue to win our games.”

Earlier Sunday, Santander had surprisingly won in Seville thanks to set-piece goals from Cesar Navas and Nikola Zigic, a man who has not stopped scoring since arriving on loan from Valencia.

Santander had winger Oscar Serrano sent off before half-time, but slow, predictable Sevilla failed to take advantage of their numerical superiority.

Mallorca moved off the bottom of the table by thrashing dismal Valencia 3-1 in Palma. Man-of-the-match Jose Manuel Juarado gave Mallorca the lead after just nine minutes.

Valencia, who look like a mediocre team without Spain strikers David Villa and Joaquin, were always chasing shadows.

In the 42nd minute Mallorca were given a dubious penalty for a push by Raul Albiol on Jurado - and Jose Luis Marti made no mistake from the penalty spot. Two minutes later the majestic Juardo made it 3-0 after good work by Fernando Varela.

Mallorca were content to sit back and soak up the timid Valencia pressure in the second half. Vicente pulled a goal back for the visitors in the 73rd minute, but it was a clear case of too little, too late.

“It was about time that we played well and earned three points,” Varela said.

The handsome win takes Mallorca up to third from bottom, one point above Espanyol - who scored a late 1-1 draw in Valladolid - and three above Osasuna, who drew 1-1 Saturday in Villarreal.

Malaga and Atletico Madrid, meanwhile, were playing out a tense 1-1 draw.

Antonio Apono gave Malaga an early lead, but John Heitinga levelled for Atletico just before half-time.

In Sunday’s other early games, Getafe thrashed Sporting Gijon 5-1, Almeria beat Athletic Bilbao 2-1, and Recreativo Huelva overcame Betis 1-0.

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Sports |