Real Madrid downs Barcelona 2-1

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Brazilian stars Roberto Carlos and Ronaldo scored a goal each as Spanish league leader Real Madrid edged archrival FC Barcelona 2-1.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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Brazilian stars Roberto Carlos and Ronaldo scored a goal each as Spanish league leader Real Madrid edged archrival FC Barcelona 2-1 to win its first league match at the Camp Nou stadium in 20 years. Roberto Carlos struck the first in the 37th minute, while the league's top scorer Ronaldo added the second in the 73rd to take his season's goal tally to 12. Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert scored Barcelona's consolation goal in the 82nd minute of the match yesterday. Madrid's victory marked a happy return to the Camp Nou for David Beckham, who gained a Champions League winners medal there for Manchester United against Bayern Munich in 1999. "The memories came flooding back," Beckham said. "But I'm with a different team now. Coming here as a Madrid player and beating Barcelona was just as sweet." The Catalan club's defeat leaves it without a victory in its last four matches and seals a dismal week, following its 5-1 loss at Malaga on Wednesday. Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard, whose side has not won since Brazilian forward Ronaldinho was sidelined last month, began the game with a defensive lineup in a bid to stifle Madrid's attacking flair. Although this created a gray first-half, the tactic worked until the 37th minute when Madrid scored through a move created by Beckham's sweeping crossfield pass to Zinedine Zidane. The French star passed to Roberto Carlos and the Brazilian's low shot from just outside the penalty area took a deflection off Barcelona's Dutch defender Michael Reiziger to elude goalkeeper Victor Valdes. Rijkaard reacted at halftime by bringing on wingers Marc Overmars and Ricardo Quaresma, and his team responded with an improved display. But Madrid spurned a golden chance to double its lead in the 54th minute when striker Raul Gonzalez shot over from close range after a cross by Beckham, who had burst through the Barcelona defence. Barcelona finally started to create opportunities after an hour, with Overmars denied by an acrobatic save by Iker Casillas in the 62nd minute and Madrid's goalkeeper parrying Kluivert's shot three minutes later. Ronaldo, who had promised a goal before the match, extended the lead when he fired home, again with the aid of a deflection - off Dutch midfielder Philip Cocu this time - from Roberto Carlos' pass across goal. Ronaldo, who spent the 1996-97 season with Barcelona and scored 34 league goals, was making his first appearance for Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium. Kluivert gave Barcelona vain hope with eight minutes remaining when he powered his header past Iker Casillas from Quaresma's corner to reduce the deficit. In other 15th-round games, defender Joan Capdevila scored the lone goal as Deportivo de La Coruna edged Malaga 1-0 to move into second place in the Spanish league. Elsewhere, Real Betis crushed Real Sociedad 4-0 while Osasuna beat Celta de Vigo 3-2. Madrid leads the standings with 33 points, three ahead of Deportivo. Valencia is next with 28, followed by Osasuna with 26. (AP)

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