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Real Madrid beats Deportivo to stay 2nd to Barcelona

RAUL Gonzalez's first-half goal gave Real Madrid a 1-0 victory over Deportivo La Coruna yesterday to leave the Spanish champion as the nearest rival to runaway league leader Barcelona.

Raul flicked Lassana Diarra's in-swinging cross beyond Deportivo goalkeeper Gustavo Munua in the 40th minute to move to within one strike of equaling Alfredo di Stefano's club record of 307 goals.

The win means that Madrid stay second, 12 points behind Barcelona, which beat Numancia 4-1 on Saturday and tops the standings with 53 points from 20 games.
Ten-man Racing Santander beat Sevilla 2-0 and Mallorca upset Valencia 3-1 as both losers fell further out of the league race.

Cesar Navas and Nicolas Zigic both scored at the Roman Sanchez Pizjuan stadium as Sevilla slipped 15 points behind Barcelona, while Jose Manuel Jurado scored twice as Mallorca snapped an 11-game winless streak by beating Valencia to move out of last place.

Navas was perfectly placed in the 24th minute to slot in a loose rebound while Zigic followed up Pedro Munitis' free kick with a left-footed strike in the 46th as Racing maintained its excellent road form to jump up to ninth.

Santander were reduced to 10 men from the 32nd minute when Oscar Serrano was red-carded.

Valencia, missing striker David Villa and winger Joaquin Sanchez, trailed after eight minutes at the Ono Estadi stadium when Jurado clipped a rebound over Valencia goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.

Jose Luis Marti doubled the lead with a penalty in the 41st before Jurado beat Guaita with a rising shot at the near post a minute later as Mallorca moved ahead of Espanyol and Osasuna and into 18th place with 17 points.

Valencia's second straight loss left it 19 points behind Barcelona but in the final Champions League place.

Madrid hardly put on a spirited display _ against a team that had lost 5-0 to Barcelona a week ago -- in picking up its fifth straight victory under coach Juande Ramos.

Madrid enjoyed the early pressure at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, with winger Arjen Robben setting up Raul and Gonzalo Higuain to threaten before the Madrid captain scored his eighth of the season.

Substitute Ivan "Riki" Sanchez headed wide just before halftime for Deportivo, who started former Spain international Juan Carlos Valeron in a league game for the first time in three years.

Robben created a good chance in the 58th minute when he burst down the right side before sending a shot just over the far corner, while Iker Casillas was called into action at the other end a minute later with the Madrid goalkeeper making a good save from Filipe Luis' well struck shot.

The Spain goalie dove to his right in the 68th minute to save Angel Lafita's rising shot to maintain Madrid's lead and condemn Deportivo to a fifth straight loss in all competitions.

At La Rosaleda, John Heitinga scored in the 45th as Atletico Madrid rallied for a 1-1 draw at Malaga, which got its goal from Antonio "Apono" Galdeano in the 22nd. Atletico's Simao Sabrosa had a shot cleared off the goal line in the 69th and Malaga goalkeeper Inaki Goita saved Tomas Ujfalusi's close-range header in injury time as both teams moved to 32 points.

Atletico remained winless in 2009, a stretch of six games.

Also yesterday, it was: Almeria 2, Athletic Bilbao 1; Valladolid 1, Espanyol 1; Recreativo Huelva 1, Real Betis 0; and Getafe 5, Sporting Gijon 1.

Somber music was played before the games as a mark of respect for the four children killed Saturday when part of a Barcelona sports center collapsed in high winds.

Coach Hugo Sanchez's unbeaten reign at Almeria was stretched to four games. Irney Santos da Silva's blast came directly off the bar to Juanma Ortiz to head home in the 26th, and Kalu Uche then struck a loose ball through the crowded area in the 40th.

Joseba del Olmo got one goal back for Athletic in the 66th.

At Valladolid, Sergio Sanchez's 79th-minute header ensured Maurecio Pochettino came out of his Espanyol league coaching debut with a point, although Espanyol stayed winless in 11 games to drop into 19th.

Henok Goitom steered Jonathan Sesma's shot home with his head in the 42nd for Valladolid.

Roberto Soldado scored a hat trick as Getafe snapped a four-game losing streak. Soldado jumped on a poor back pass in the 15th to beat Sporting goalkeeper Inaki Lafuente, running clear onto a Ikechukwu Uche pass to score in the 57th and then notched his sixth of the season with a penalty in the 72nd.

Esteban Granero and Uche also scored for Getafe, while David Barral scored Sporting's goal off a quick counterattack in the 45th.

Roberto Abbondanzieri watched his last Getafe game from the bench with the Argentine goalkeeper returning to Boca Juniors later this week.

At the Nuevo Colombino stadium, Javier Camunas headed Cristian Maidana's cross over Betis goalkeeper Ricardo Soares for Recreativo's 72nd-minute winner. Recreativo stretched its unbeaten run to five and has 23 points.

On Saturday, Osasuna rallied to draw 1-1 against Villarreal.


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