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October 6, 2009

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Ronaldo-less Madrid drops points at Sevilla

REAL Madrid's perfect start to the season ended with a 1-2 defeat at Sevilla in La Liga on Sunday, leaving it trailing champion Barcelona by three points.

Winger Jesus Navas leaped superbly to nod the home side in front after 33 minutes and midfielder Renato also struck with a header in the second half to secure the victory.

Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas had produced two stunning saves to deny Renato and Diego Perotti before Pepe equalized for the visitors with a header just after halftime.

Manuel Pellegrini's expensively assembled Real side, missing the injured Cristiano Ronaldo for its first major test of the season, remains on 15 points from six matches.

On Saturday, Pedro's stunning strike gave Pep Guardiola's Barcelona side a 1-0 home win over Almeria as it equalled its best league start with six wins in six to reach 18 points.

Sevilla is now level with Real on 15 points and only trails the Madrid side on goal difference.

The match was billed as a test of Sevilla's ability to challenge the dominance of the top-2 teams Manolo Jimenez's players came out with all guns blazing.

Roared on by about 45,000 vociferous fans, the home side put early pressure on the Real goal and the pacy Navas caused havoc down the right flank. He timed his run to perfection to outjump Marcelo and power Fernando Navarro's cross past Casillas for the opening goal.

Tempers frayed just before halftime when Guti and Didier Zokora squared up and Guti had to be restrained by teammates after he was barged by Perotti in the melee.

Sevilla should have been at least two goals ahead at the break but Casillas somehow kept out Brazilian Renato's bullet header and he saved Real again immediately after halftime when it seemed easier for Perotti to score.


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