Real Madrid downs Sevilla 3-2

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Ruud van Nistelrooy scored two goals in the second half and Robinho added another on Sunday to help Real Madrid beat Sevilla 3-2 in the Spanish league.

Updated: May 09, 2007 18:21 IST
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Ruud van Nistelrooy scored two goals in the second half and Robinho added another on Sunday to help Real Madrid beat Sevilla 3-2 in the Spanish league.

The victory at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium lifted Madrid above Sevilla and into second place, two points behind FC Barcelona with five games remaining.

Madrid has won six of its past seven games, boosting its hopes of ending a drought without a major trophy which stretches back to 2003.

Enzo Maresca and substitute Javier Chevanton scored for Sevilla, whose defeat was a blow to its hopes of winning three trophies this season. On Thursday, Sevilla reached the final of the UEFA Cup, which it won last season, while it is also challenging for the Copa del Rey.

Robinho ejected

Robinho was ejected for his goal celebrations in which he took off his shirt in the 78th minute, while Sevilla defender Aitor Ocio followed him moments later for hitting out at Madrid midfielder Mahamadou Diarra.

Sevilla substitute Luis Fabiano also received a red card in the 74th, apparently for insulting the assistant referee while he was warming up on the touchline.

Van Nistelrooy's goals were his 19th and 20th of the season, lifting him above Sevilla's Frederic Kanoute and Zaragoza's Diego Milito at the top of the scoring chart.

FC Barcelona has 65 points, while Madrid has 63. Sevilla stayed with 61 points, two more than Valencia.

Zaragoza drew 0-0 with Racing Santander, hurting its chances of playing in next season's Champions League.

Also, it was: Espanyol 2, Atletico Madrid 1; Recreativo Huelva 0, Athletic Bilbao 0; Real Betis 0, Getafe 2; Mallorca 3, Osasuna 1; Villarreal 1, Celta Vigo 0; and Levante 2, Gimnastic Tarragona 0.

Madrid's lineup included David Beckham, whose suspension for picking up his 10th yellow card of the season was lifted on last Thursday, a decision which irritated Sevilla coach Juande Ramos.

Beckham gets yellow card

However, Beckham received a yellow card in the closing stages of Sunday's game, which means he will miss next weekend's game with Espanyol.

Beckham, who joins the Los Angeles Galaxy in August, helped to create Madrid's first chance with an outswinging corner which allowed Diarra to head narrowly wide in the 15th minute.

The visitors took the lead in the 41st when Maresca swiveled and volleyed home from the edge of the area with a goal reminiscent of Zinedine Zidane's for Madrid in the 2002 Champions League final.

Maresca and then Antonio Puerta came close for Sevilla, while goalkeeper Andres Palop denied Beckham in the early stages of the second half.

Madrid coach Fabio Capello replaced captain Raul Gonzalez with Jose Maria "Guti" Gutierrez in the 59th and within three minutes the midfielder had created his side's equalizer.

Guti evaded Christian Poulsen before threading a through ball to Van Nistelrooy, who took the ball around Palop and angled his shot home.

Guti then created Robinho's goal with a deft pass through Sevilla's defense from the edge of the area, allowing the Brazilian to burst through and fire home.

Van Nistelrooy doubled his tally in the 85th, heading over the goal line after Palop had stopped Sergio Ramos' shot.

Chevanton reduced the deficit direct from a free kick in injury time.

Zaragoza's draw ended a five-game winning streak at La Romareda Stadium, leaving it trailing Valencia by four points with five rounds remaining. The leading four teams qualify for Europe's top club competition.

After a poor first half, Zaragoza attacked Santander's goal. Striker Sergio Garcia wasted a clear chance in the 61st minute and midfielder Pablo Aimar twice came close.

Espanyol celebrated reaching the UEFA Cup final last Thursday with a victory over Atletico which lifted it into 11th place.

Moha El Yaagoubi volleyed in the first goal in the ninth minute, although injury led the Morocco midfielder to be carried off on a stretcher an hour later.

Atletico forward Maxi Rodriguez played from the start of the second half for his first appearance since Oct. 11. The forward injured his left knee playing for Argentina in a friendly with Spain.

Striker Walter Pandiani doubled Espanyol's lead from close range in the 75th minute following a mistake by Atletico goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar, with Atletico substitute Martin Petrov scoring an injury-time consolation goal.

Bilbao, fighting to avoid the first relegation in its history, gained a valuable point at Recreativo despite the 69th-minute dismissal of defender Fernando Amorebieta.

Betis dropped closer to the relegation zone with a defeat against Getafe.

Betis, now winless in eight games, fell behind to Daniel Guiza's 16th-minute goal, with Javi Casquero adding a second in the 34th.

The game was Betis' final "home" game at La Cartuja, a Seville venue which hosted the 2003 UEFA Cup final. Spain's soccer federation ordered the team's Manuel Ruiz de Lopera stadium closed for three games after a bottle throwing incident.

Mallorca defeated UEFA Cup semifinalist Osasuna to gain its seventh straight home win.

Fernando Varela scored for Mallorca in the 37th, with Raul Garcia equalizing in the 60th.

Jonas Gutierrez restored Mallorca's lead six minutes later, with substitute Bosko Jankovic adding a third in the 81st.

Villarreal substitute Guillermo Franco's 68th-minute header defeated lowly Celta, which has lost three of its four games under recently appointed coach Hristo Stoitchkov.

Levante boosted its hopes of avoiding the drop by beating last-place Gimnastic Tarragona, which looks virtually certain to return to the second division after a year's absence.

Cesar Navas' own-goal in the 27th minute and Mustapha Riga's shot in the 40th brought the Valencia-based team its first win in 11 games.

On Saturday, Barcelona beat Real Sociedad 2-0, while Valencia defeated Deportivo La Coruna 2-1.

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