Real Madrid keep hopes alive in Spanish League

April 19th, 2009 - 2:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, April 19 (DPA) - Real Madrid kept up the pressure on Spanish leaders Barcelona with a 1-0 win away to lowly Recreativo Huelva.
The tight win Saturday leaves in-form Real six points behind Barca, who earlier in the day won 1-0 in Getafe.

“We had to win tonight, in order to prevent them (Barcelona) from escaping,” said Real goal scorer Marcelo.

Real have won 15 of their last 16 league games thanks to the defensive solidity given to them by coach Juande Ramos, who took over from Bernd Schuster in December.

Real dominated from start to finish. Arjen Robben forced two good saves from Asier Riesgo, veteran Raul hit the Huelva post in the 35th minute.

The only goal came four minutes into the second half, when Fernando Gago released Marcelo down the left with a precise pass, and the Brazilian left-back scored with a calm near-post shot.

Huelva, who never looked likely to equalise, are third from bottom and in massive trouble.

Earlier on Saturday, Barca had scored their 12th away win, a new club record, thanks to an early goal from Lionel Messi.

Barca have won their last six league games, without conceding a single goal.

“It was another good game by us,” said playmaker Xavi. “We are enjoying our football, and our results are excellent.”

The only goal in rainy Getafe came in the 19th minute, when Messi scored with a left-foot drive after taking a clever pass from Xavi and dancing through the local defence.

Barca turned in yet another slick display and should have won by more goals but were kept at bay by Getafe goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic. They also had three good penalty claims turned down, and a late Messi “goal” disallowed for offside.

League top scorer Samuel Eto’o hit the Getafe post two minutes from time.

Saturday’s other big news was Atletico Madrid’s 3-0 home win over troubled Numancia, which takes them up to joint fourth.

Atletico won thanks to classy late goals from Ever Banega, Diego Forlan and Simao.

They are now level on 49 points with Valencia, who are at home to third-placed Sevilla on Sunday. Atletico and Valencia are one point ahead of Villareal, who are away to Valladolid on Sunday.

Malaga stay in seventh place, one point behind Villarreal, after being held to a 1-1 draw by Mallorca.

Saturday’s other early game saw a 1-0 win for Deportivo Coruna away to Athletic Bilbao, on a late goal from Pablo Alvarez.

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