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Real pours on the style in second half

GOALS by Gonzalo Higuain and Arjen Robben helped Real Madrid rally from a goal down at halftime to a 3-1 victory over Osasuna in the Spanish league on Sunday.

Real's Sergio Ramos canceled out Javad Nekounam's first-half strike for Osasuna, before Higuain and Robben led the Spanish champion to its fourth straight win, two days after its president Ramon Calderon resigned after being linked to a vote-rigging scandal.

"The team has been through a lot this week because that happened, but it also knew how to overcome. I hope we can continue picking up wins and finish the season confidently," new president Vicente Boluda said.

Last-place Osasuna had taken the lead when Nekounam got over Fabio Cannavaro and headed Jaroslav Plasil's looping cross into the far corner in the 20th. Goalkeeper Roberto Fernandez mishandled Ramos' long shot in the 50th to allow Madrid to begin its rally. Higuain tapped in Robben's cross in the 64th minute and the Dutchman added Real's third goal in injury time.

Osasuna winger Juanfran Torres was sent off in the 83rd after a second booking for protesting even though he appeared to deserve a penalty after being tripped inside the area on both occasions.

"Madrid isn't playing so well but is still picking up good results and those results provide confidence and confidence allows you to play much better," Madrid coach Juande Ramos said.

Osasuna coach Jose Antonio Camacho was not happy with the penalty decisions, saying: "Like everyone else, I think the referee was mistaken."

That view was shared by Juanfran, who denied he had set out to win a spot-kick.

"I can't believe it, it's the first time this kind of thing has happened to me," Juanfran said. "I swear that I didn't dive on either of the two penalties. The linesman saw it very clearly but didn't intervene."

Also on Sunday, it was: Villarreal 2, Mallorca 0; Malaga 4, Espanyol 0; Valladolid 1, Real Betis 3; Recreativo Huelva 2, Sporting Gijon 0; and Getafe 0, Racing Santander 1.

Barcelona beat Deportivo La Coruna 5-0 on Saturday. Barcelona leads Sevilla and Madrid by 12 points.


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