Real Madrid beat Sevilla in Spanish league

March 31st, 2008 - 1:57 pm ICT by admin  

Madrid, March 31 (DPA) Real Madrid went six points clear atop the Spanish Liga with an important 3-1 win over injury-hit Sevilla. It was Real’s first win Sunday in three games, which leaves them with 65 points from 30 games, six more than Villarreal - who thrashed Atletico Madrid 3-0 Saturday - and seven ahead of crisis club Barcelona, who collapsed 3-2 at Betis.

Real desperately needed a good result after defeats against Deportivo Coruna and Valencia.

Gabriel Heinze opened the scoring after just eight minutes with his first goal for Real, heading in a Wesley Sneijder free kick.

Frederic Kanoute levelled for Sevilla against the run of play in the 38th minute, with a left-foot volley after the Real defence had failed to clear a high free-kick.

Just one minute later veteran captain Raul Gonzalez restored Real’s lead, taking advantage of hesitation in the Sevilla defence to score on the turn with his trusty left foot.

Real were happy to soak up the pressure and play on the counter in the second half. In the 65th minute, a rapid break led to Guti centering for the outstretched Gonzalo Higuain to make it 3-1.

The defeat leaves Sevilla in joint sixth place, five points off the Champions League pace.

Earlier Sunday, Racing Santander had moved up to joint fourth, their highest-ever placing, with a 3-0 romp at dull Espanyol.

Santander, who have never qualified for Europe, won thanks to early goals from strikers Oscar Serrano and Pedro Munitis, with Ivan Bolado completing the rout in injury time.

They are now joint fourth with Atletico Madrid - who lost 3-0 Sunday at second-placed Villarreal - with 50 points from 30 games.

The defeat against Santander leaves out-of-form Espanyol level with Sevilla on 45 points.

Almeria - the season’s other surprise package, along with Santander, moved up to eighth with a 2-1 home win over doomed bottom club Levante, with early goals from Fernando Soriano and Felipe Melo.

Almeria are two points above Mallorca, who enjoyed a 3-0 cruise at Valencia, with Spain striker Daniel Guiza scoring twice.

It was a harsh way for Valencia to come down to earth after last week’s dramatic defeats of Barcelona in the King’s Cup and Real Madrid.

Ronald Koeman’s inconsistent side are now 11th, one point behind Athletic Bilbao, who battled out a 1-1 draw in Huelva.

The draw against Bilbao leaves Huelva third from bottom with just 33 points.

Below them are Murcia with 26 and Levante with 19.

Fourth from bottom now are Zaragoza, after a demoralizing defeat in Valladolid.

Alberto Zapater gave Zaragoza an early lead, only for Valladolid to turn the tables with second-half goals from Victor Fernandez and Joseba Llorente.

The tight win leaves Valladolid sixth from bottom with 35 points, two less than Osasuna, who scored a timely 2-0 win at Getafe.

Osasuna are level on 37 points with Deportivo Coruna, who came from behind to beat Murcia 3-1 later Sunday.

Veteran Enrique de Lucas headed Murcia into the lead after just two minutes, but Deportivo turned the table thanks to youngster Xisco Jimenez’ first-ever hat-trick.

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