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Real Madrid Close Gap To 10 Points

Raul netted a brace en route to becoming Real Madrid’s record goalscorer on a day when the reigning champions breathed a little life back into the Primera Liga title race with a dominant 4-0 win at Sporting Gijon. Raul needed just 15 minutes to put his side ahead against Sporting and enter the record books with his 308th goal for the club, taking him one clear of the legendary Alfredo Di Stefano.

It was also a special day for Klaas Jan Huntelaar, who grabbed his first goal for the Spanish giants to help Juande Ramos’ in-form side to an eighth successive league win. Marcelo also got on the scoresheet as Madrid moved to within 10 points of runaway leaders Barcelona.

Fredi Kanoute scored twice in the last six minutes as third-placed Sevilla won 2-0 at Espanyol. The home side battled bravely but were always struggling once Lola was sent-off after 64 minutes.

The defeat, coupled with Real Mallorca’s 1-0 win at Numancia, saw Espanyol slip to the foot of the table. Aritz Aduriz scored the goal for the Balearic Islanders midway through the first half.

Villarreal missed a great chance to move back into the top four after being held to a 1-1 draw at Racing Santander. Nikola Zigic gave Racing the lead after 24 minutes, but Santi Cazorla equalised for Villarreal just before half-time.

Atletico Madrid were denied what would have been a vital three points as Getafe grabbed a late equaliser at the Vicente Calderon in the evening game. Diego Forlan put Atletico ahead but Juan Albin, who had earlier missed a penalty, nodded home with just two minutes to go.

Athletic Bilbao and Recreativo Huelva drew 1-1 – Athletic’s Gaizka Toquero cancelling out Aitor Tornavaca’s opener – while Almeria hit back from 2-0 down to beat Real Valladolid 3-2.

Goals from Pedro Leon and Henok Goitom put the visitors firmly in control by half-time but an Albert Crusat strike midway through the second half sparked an incredible series of events as Valladolid went to pieces, despite being handed a numerical advantage.

Bruno was red-carded for a poor tackle on Pedro Leon but Kala Uche forced an unlikely equaliser, only to be sent off himself for violent conduct, and then the astonishing turnaround was complete when Alvaro Negredo netted the winner for the nine men with more than 10 minutes still to play.

Valladolid bombarded the Almeria goal for the remainder of the game but were unable to force a way through and they also had a player sent off when defender Victoriano Nano was dismissed for an elbow late on.

Barcelona came from two goals down to snatch a late point in a 2-2 draw at Real Betis on Saturday night. Melli headed Betis into the lead after 18 minutes and the Andalusians stunned the league leaders as they went two up through Mark Gonzalez seven minutes later. But Samuel Eto’o pulled a goal back for the Catalans just before half-time after his penalty was parried by Ricardo and the Cameroon striker struck an equaliser six minutes from the end to extend Barcelona’s unbeaten league run to 21 games.

Valencia’s poor run continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw at the Mestalla by Malaga. David Villa put the hosts in front in the 53rd minute with a stunning goal but Malaga were back on level terms just seven minutes later when the unfortunate Raul Albiol deflected the ball past his own goalkeeper.

Deportivo La Coruna also had to settle for a share of the points in a goalless draw against Osasuna.

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