Real Madrid win 10th straight, within four points of Barca

March 1st, 2009 - 10:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, March 1 (DPA) Real Madrid are now just four points behind Spanish leaders Barcelona after a 2-0 win over lowly Espanyol.
It was Real’s 10th consecutive league win, their best run in La Liga since 1963, and it came thanks to second-half goals from veterans Guti and Raul.

“We are now in a privileged situation,” Raul said, vowing to “make things difficult” for Barcelona.

Barca - who held a 12-point lead three weeks ago - play Sunday at Atletico Madrid.

Having lost 1-0 to Liverpool Wednesday at home, Real put their Champions League blues behind them to score a difficult late win against willing but naive opponents.

A dull game burst into life in the 68th minute, when supersub Guti opened the scoring with a classy free-kick, which hit the woodwork and went in off Espanyol keeper Carlos Kameni.

Five minutes later, Marcelo set up Raul to make it 2-0 with a low left-foot drive.

The latest defeat leaves Espanyol second from bottom with just 21 points.

Earlier Saturday, Sevilla consolidated themselves in third place - nine points behind Real - with a 2-1 comeback win at Athletic Bilbao.

Star of the show in Bilbao was ageless striker Frederic Kanoute with two classy goals.

Sevilla are now six points ahead of fourth-placed Villarreal, who play Sunday at Betis.

The win in Bilbao will put Sevilla in good heart ahead of Wednesday’s King’s Cup semi-final between the same two teams. Sevilla will return to Bilbao defending a 2-1 first leg lead.

Bilbao coach Joaquin Caparros rested several first-teamers to keep them fresh for the cup showdown.

Igor Gabilondo shot Bilbao ahead in the 27th minute after the Sevilla defence had failed to clear a corner.

Twelve minutes later, Kanoute made it 1-1 by controlling and turning in a centre from Aquivaldo Mosquera. In the 58th minute, Kanoute put Sevilla ahead with a right-footed drive after being put through by Koffi Romaric.

Gaizka Toquero almost snatched a draw for Bilbao at the end but was foiled by international keeper Andres Palop.

“It will be a different story on Wednesday,” Toquero vowed.

Sevilla’s Diego Perotti called Saturday’s result “three very important points for us.”

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