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Raul equals Real Madrid scoring record

RAUL Gonzalez joined Alfredo di Stefano as Real Madrid's all-time leading scorer with a second-half goal in the Spanish champion's 2-0 victory at Numancia yesterday.

Raul was perfectly placed in front of goal in the 48th minute to slot home the rebound from Gonzalo Higuain's initial shot and take his goal tally to 307 in his 15th season. Di Stefano played for Madrid from 1953-64.

Arjen Robben's solo score in the 56th helped to extend Madrid's winning streak to six games and improve to within nine points of Spanish leader Barcelona, which travels to Racing Santander today in a match that Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said would play a "pivotal" part in the club's quest to end a three-year trophyless streak.

Barcelona has 53 points, Madrid 44 and Sevilla 38.

Elsewhere, Athletic Bilbao twice rallied from one-goal deficits to beat Malaga 3-2.

Markel Susaeta headed substitute Gaizka Toquero's pass home in the 86th to secure a last-minute victory for the second straight league match at the San Mames.

Albert Luque and Manuel "Lolo" Ortiz scored in each half to twice put Malaga ahead, and Athletic equalized through Fernando Llorente and Fran Yeste .

Teams observed a minute's silence in honor of former Spanish football federation president Pablo Porta who died on Wednesday.

Madrid at least accomplished one thing that Barcelona won't be able to -- a victory at Los Pajaritos Stadium, where the Catalans suffered their sole defeat of the season on opening day.

Numancia controlled the first half with Javier del Pino beating goalkeeper Iker Casillas with a header in the 27th only for the ball to bounce off the post. Three minutes later, Del Pino flicked-on to Gorka Brit to hit into the side netting from a tight angle.

Madrid held little first-half possession but did come close in the 35th when Raul's header was cleared off the line.

Madrid came alive in the second half through Higuain, who slashed a hard shot from the left side that Numancia goalie Juan Pablo Colinas pushed straight at 31-year-old captain Raul for his ninth goal of the season.

Robben scored from a quick free kick, exchanging a short pass with Raul before maneuvering across the top of the area to send a left-footed shot back across goal beyond Colinas. It was the Dutch international's fourth goal during Madrid's current winning streak.

Madrid controlled with Fabio Cannavaro heading a clear chance by the post in the 63rd, and at the other end Casillas saved Asier Goiria's point-blank chance after the Numancia striker collected a Sergio Ramos error to go clear on goal.

Madrid played out the last 11 minutes with 10 men after Fernando Gago was booked for a second time, while former Spain striker Raul came off with six minutes to play and received congratulations from his teammates.

At Bilbao, Athletic coach Joaquin Caparros went with a full-strength lineup despite the Basque club's Copa del Rey semifinal against Sevilla on Wednesday. Athletic lost last weekend after several starters were rested for a midweek cup match.

Luque turned in Antonio Galdeano's shot from inside the area -- and a questionable position -- in the third minute to open.

Athletic nearly replied two minutes later when Ion Velez dribbled clear into the area, but his last touch got away and Malaga goalkeeper Inaki Goitia was able to block the weak shot.

Nahil Baha saw the ball skip over his foot in the 25th with an open goal as the action raced from end-to-end before Yeste equalized in the 37th by curling Llorente's well-timed pass to the top of the area beyond Goitia.

The tempo dropped at the start of the second until Lolo wedged himself between two Athletic defenders to head Sergio "Duda" Barbosa's cross in at the near post in the 63rd.

Spain striker Llorente collected outside the area in the 72nd to send a rising left-footed shot beyond Goitia before Susaeta's winner allowed Athletic to climb into ninth with 29 points -- three less than Malaga.

In today's other 21st round of games, it's: Valencia vs. Almeria; Atletico Madrid vs. Valladolid; Espanyol vs. Recreativo Huelva; Real Betis vs. Getafe; Sporting Gijon vs. Sevilla; Deportivo La Coruna vs. Villarreal; and Osasuna vs. Mallorca.


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