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November 9, 2009

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Pedro fires Barcelona as Real tops Atletico

PEDRO netted twice and Thierry Henry scored his first of the season to set leader Barcelona on its way to a 4-2 win over Real Mallorca in La Liga on Saturday that kept the champion a point clear of Real Madrid.

Lionel Messi scored a late penalty at the Nou Camp as a revamped Barcelona, coming off two low-key draws, ensured it stayed ahead of Real after 10 games.

Second-placed Real, missing the injured Cristiano Ronaldo, held on for a 3-2 win at city rival Atletico in the late match despite going down to 10 men in the 66th minute.

Real was cruising after Brazilians Kaka and Marcelo scored first-half goals and Gonzalo Higuain added a third on 64 minutes before Sergio Ramos was shown a straight red for a foul on Sergio Aguero.

Roared on by the home crowd, Diego Forlan pulled a goal back with 11 minutes of regular time left, Aguero added another three minutes later and Iker Casillas produced a superb save to deny the Argentina striker at the death as Real held firm. Barca has 26 points, Real 25 and Sevilla, which was hosting Villarreal last night, has 19 in third. Atletico remains in the relegation zone on seven points with just one win.

Real manager Manuel Pellegrini appeared to be struck by an object thrown from the crowd midway through the second half at the Vicente Calderon but played down the incident at the post-match news conference and said he had not suffered any serious injury.

"We had a very good first half and controlled the second until Ramos was sent off," the Chilean said.

"The final minutes were dangerous but did not reflect the superiority we enjoyed throughout the match as a whole."

Deportivo Coruna made light of having a player sent off in each half to win 2-0 at Getafe and climb above Valencia, which was at promoted Real Zaragoza last night, into fourth.

Depor is level on 19 points with Sevilla and one ahead of Valencia.

Also, Malaga fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at promoted Tenerife and move one place off the bottom, above Xerez, which was at Real Valladolid, on goal difference.


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