Late goals keep Real at top of La Liga

Updated: 25 February 2007 08:48 IST

Real Madrid produced a late show to beat Rayo Vallecano 3-1 on Saturday and stretch their lead to six points at the top of Spain's La Liga.

Late goals keep Real at top of La Liga

Madrid:

Real Madrid produced a late show to beat Rayo Vallecano 3-1 on Saturday and stretch their lead to six points at the top of Spain's La Liga. Real coach Vicente del Bosque chose to rest influential French midfielder Zinedine Zidane and Claude Makelele in the Madrid derby, but his 'second string' line-up still had room for Luis Figo, Raul, and World Footballer of the Year Ronaldo. However, Rayo Vallecano captain Munoz Michel almost shocked the European Champions in the ninth minute, but his near-post effort brought the best out of Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas. But Vallecano, desperate to lift themselves from second-bottom in La Liga, did indeed stun the Bernabeu into silence just five minutes later when Luis Cembranos' free-kick deceived everyone and found its way into the corner of Casillas's net. Replays suggested that it was Brazilian striker Ronaldo who may have got the last touch past Casillas. Real's best chance in the first forty-five minutes came when Brazilian international Roberto Carlos unleashed a trademark left-footed volley, but the Vallecano number one Alvaro Segura was equal to it. Vallecano kept up their momentum early in the second period when Cembranos once again tested the home side. He was forced out, however, by some uncompromising defending from Real captain Fernando Hierro. Real began to find their way back into the match. Inspired by some dazzling play down the left wing from Santiago Solari they sparked into life. Yet even the sublime skill of Golden Boot winner Ronaldo was missing as Vicente del Bosque watched on anxiously. The breakthrough eventually came in the 85th minute when Fernando Morientes managed to get a touch on Carlos' long ball and, with Segura in no man's land, Real had their equaliser. Barely five minutes later and del Bosque's men produced the most unlikely of comebacks. Young sensation Javier Portillo banged in a header after Solari had once again tormented Vallecano down the left flank. And four minutes into stoppage time Morientes grabbed his second and Real's third. The big striker was set free by Luis Figo before coolly beating Segura from the edge of the area and sending the Bernabeu into raptures. (AP)

Topics : Football
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