Madrid beat Atletico 4-1 to stay top in Spain

Real Madrid extended its lead to six points in the Spanish league after a comeback 4-1 win against nine-man Atletico Madrid and Barcelona's first loss of the season on Saturday.

Updated: November 27, 2011 14:27 IST
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Madrid: Real Madrid extended its lead to six points in the Spanish league after a comeback 4-1 win against nine-man Atletico Madrid and Barcelona's first loss of the season on Saturday.

Madrid overcame an early goal by Atletico to win its ninth straight league match and maintain a 12-year unbeaten run in the Spanish capital derby.

That win was even sweeter when Getafe edged out Barcelona 1-0 thanks to Juan Valera's second-half header, ending the defending champions' 27-game unbeaten run dating back to April.

Barcelona can cut the gap in the first "clasico" of the season on Dec. 10.

After Adrian Lopez had given Atletico a 15th-minute lead, teammate and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was shown a straight red card for bringing Madrid striker Karim Benzema down inside the area. Cristiano Ronaldo converted the 24th-minute penalty.

Madrid winger Angel Di Maria marked his return from injury with a goal in the 49th, and substitute Gonzalo Higuain scored in the 65th.

Atletico defender Diego Godin was sent off for fouling Higuain, allowing Ronaldo to again score from a spot kick in the 82nd.

Madrid hasn't lost to its crosstown rival since 1999, a sequence of 22 games in all competitions which includes seven straight victories.

"This is the way that everyone wants to keep playing, going game to game," Madrid captain Iker Casillas said. "It is a spectacular run, but now we have to think about our next rival."

Getafe's defensive plan to stifle Barcelona's vaunted attack succeeded where so many others had failed before Valera powered in a corner in the 67th minute in his team's only shot on goal.

Barcelona pressed for the equalizer and grew more dangerous as the game approached the final whistle.

Lionel Messi, who scored an added-time equalizer in Barcelona's last away game at Athletic Bilbao, almost snatched another point for his team when he hit the post in stoppage time.

"They played very well in defense and we failed to break through," said Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, whose team hosts Rayo Vallecano on Tuesday to make room in the calendar for the upcoming Club World Cup.

"Until the end we created chances, so I have nothing to reproach my team. Within three days we have to try again."

Atletico started well at Santiago Bernabeu stadium as Diego guided a through ball into the path of Adrian, who stayed onside to slot past Casillas and give the visitors an unlikely lead, especially with striker Radamel Falcao missing to injury.

Referee Antonio Miguel Mateu flashed a handful of yellow cards in the first half as tempers frayed, before Courtois lunged into the feet of Benzema to send the France striker tumbling for a decisive penalty that Ronaldo sent past substitute goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo.

"Something always goes Madrid's way in key moments," Atletico coach Gregorio Manzano said. "They didn't even manage a chance before the penalty. The red card decided the game. All of our initial plans changed. When you give them this kind of advantage, it's tough."

Di Maria soon ensured his team's 13th straight victory across all competitions when he ran onto Ronaldo's cross and smashed the ball into the top of the goal.

Di Maria, who missed two games with a hamstring injury, came off in the 62nd for Higuain, who scored his 12th league goal after rounding Asenjo and a defender to roll the ball into the empty net.

Atletico was hanging on to avoid a rout when Godin brought Higuain down as the Argentina striker tried to burst through, compounding the visitor's misery. Ronaldo slotted home his league-leading 16th goal and 20th of the campaign as a group of Madrid fans holding up a large sign mocking their opponents asking for: "A Dignified Rival For a Decent Derby."

Earlier on Saturday in southern Madrid, Valencia beat Rayo 2-1 to trail Barcelona by one point and Madrid by seven.

On Sunday, it's: Real Betis vs. Real Sociedad, Levante vs. Sporting Gijon, Mallorca vs. Racing Santander, Espanyol vs. Osasuna, Athletic Bilbao vs. Granada, and Zaragoza vs. Sevilla.

Malaga hosts Villarreal on Monday to close out the round.

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  • Football
  • Barcelona
  • Ángel Di María
  • Real Madrid
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  • Atlético Madrid

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