Real beat Villarreal 2-1

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:51 IST

Real Madrid kept the pressure on Primera Liga leaders Barcelona with a 2-1 victory over Villarreal at the Bernabeu in Madrid on Saturday.

Real beat Villarreal 2-1

Madrid:

Real Madrid kept the pressure on Primera Liga leaders Barcelona with a 2-1 victory over Villarreal at the Bernabeu in Madrid on Saturday. Villarreal, third in the table before the match, dominated the opening half-hour. But David Beckham spurned a great chance to give his side the lead against the run of play, when he drilled a shot narrowly wide in the 31st minute. Six minutes later, a Villarreal counter-attack led to a controversial opening goal. Harsh judgment Francisco Pavon was harshly adjudged to have fouled striker Diego Forlan just inside the area. Replays showed that the defender had in fact taken the ball before the man. Argentina midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme, in his second season on loan from Barcelona, beat goalkeeper Iker Casillas from the spot. Walter Samuel missed a golden opportunity to equalise in the 47th minute, when he headed wide from Beckham's cross. Eleven minutes later Forlan squandered an equally good chance at the other end, although Riquelme should perhaps have shot at goal himself rather than squaring to the Uruguayan. Superb cross In the 69th minute Real found an equaliser. Zinedine Zidane was the creator, dribbling to the goal-line before floating a superb cross for Ronaldo to head in at the far post. It was the Brazilian's 16th of the season and his fourth in the last three games. Samuel didn't help his side's cause when he received his second yellow card for an elbow on Jose Mari. But Madrid took the lead in the 74th minute, Ronaldo getting to his feet following an unsuccessful penalty appeal, before setting up Michel Salgado to fire home. The game ended in a touchline melee. Angry response A Quique Alvarez challenge on Raul brought an angry response from Zidane. It led to a red card for both the Frenchman and Quique Alvarez. A member of Madrid's coaching staff, Antonio Melo, was also red-carded. Zidane, Samuel and Salgado, who received a yellow card in the game, will now all miss the match at Real Sociedad next weekend through suspension. The victory keeps the pressure on Barcelona, who now face Malaga. Barca have 72 points from 32 games, while Real Madrid have 69 from 33. Sevilla and Villarreal have 52 points each. (AP)

Topics : Football Real Madrid
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