Villarreal back on top, Real Madrid now secondSeptember 28th, 2008 - 2:48 pm ICT by IANS
Madrid, Sep 28 (DPA) Villarreal went back to the top of the Spanish Liga with a 1-0 win away to troubled Sporting Gijon, whilst defending champions were battling out a late 2-1 win away to lowly Betis.The results Saturday leave Villarreal with 13 points from five games, with Real in second place on 12.
Villarreal had a hard time in Gijon than anyone expected. Newly-promoted Gijon had lost their first four games, conceding 19 goals in the process. But they tightened up in defence against Villarreal, but had little to offer in attack.
The only goal came in the 66th minute, when supersub Guiseppe Rossi - just back from a lengthy injury - latched on to a loose ball in the area and scored with a right-foot drive.
“It was a difficult game,” said Villarreal defender Javi Venta. “They kept it very tight, and never really let us get into anything like a fast rhythm.”
Real, meanwhile, were scoring yet another of their trademark late wins, with veteran Ruud Van Nistelrooy netting the winner in injury time.
Defender Gabriel Heinze put Real in front in the 19th minute, heading in a free-kick from Rafael Van der Vaart.
But Betis, fourth from bottom, refused to lie down and die.
In the 54th minute they were given a penalty for a foul on Damia by Marcelo, who was given a rather harsh direct red card. Iker Casillas saved the spot-kick from Sergio Garcia - but the latter calmly put away the rebound.
Real were down to ten men and in trouble. But in the 82nd minute Sergio Garcia earned a second yellow card for pulling down Royston Drenthe, and it was ten against ten.
As usual, Real went for the win and achieved it thanks to a 91st minute goal from the evergreen Van Nistelrooy.
Fellow Dutchman Arjen Robben broke free on the break and set up Van Nistelrooy, who silenced the Estadio Ruiz de Lopera by making it 2-1 with a powerful drive.