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Real stays on course after edging Getafe

GONZALO Higuain's second goal of the night in injury time helped Real Madrid rally for a 3-2 win over Getafe in the Spanish league on Tuesday.

Higuain ran into the area three minutes into injury time and sent a rising left-footed shot in for the winner, which came during a closing eight minutes that included four goals, a red card for Madrid defender Pepe and a Getafe penalty miss.

Madrid improved to 75 points, three behind league leader Barcelona, which can reclaim its six-point lead with a victory over Sevilla.

Robert Soldado headed Getafe into the lead in the 10th minute, but Higuain jumped on a defensive lapse to even the score in the 45th.

The drama really picked up from the 84th, after substitute Juan Angel Albin put Getafe ahead 2-1.

Jose Maria "Guti" Gutierrez equalized from a free-kick in the 86th before Pepe was red-carded for a series of aggressive actions that began with a shove on Javier Casquero inside the area to set up the penalty.

Pepe then kicked Casquero in the back as he lay on the ground before stamping on the Getafe midfielder several times. Pepe then punched Albin as players attempted to pry the Portuguese player away.

"It was a very tense moment in the match and in that moment I had no option but to foul him," Pepe told Cope radio. "I showed very poor character, this sort of thing never happens with me normally."

Pepe also made an expletive in reference to the fourth official as he left the field according to the referee's match report. The Portugal defender could miss out on the last six games of the season, including a May 2 "clasico" against Barcelona.

"I don't know why I did it," Pepe said. "The least I could do was to come here and apologize to all the fans because they know I'm not violent."

Madrid's Marcelo goaded Cata Diaz after the final whistle with players stepping in to hold the Getafe defender back.

"That's not football," Getafe president Angel Torres said. "And what Marcelo did after isn't right either. It's provocative and I think that the disciplinary committee needs to take action."

Also on Tuesday, Fernando Llorente scored a 49th-minute winner to give 10-man Athletic Bilbao a 2-1 win at last-place Numancia in a matchup of teams trying to avoid the drop.


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