Real Madrid lead Spanish League

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:04 IST

Ten-man Real Madrid moved back on top of the Spanish Primera Liga with a hard fought 2-1 away victory over cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid.

Real Madrid lead Spanish League

Madrid:

Ten-man Real Madrid moved back on top of the Spanish Primera Liga with a hard fought 2-1 away victory over cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid on Saturday. Real had beaten their cross-town rivals on the last four encounters but every one of those clashes had been a rough and physical affair - this one was to be no different with a foul recorded every two minutes throughout the game. The visitors made the perfect start when Portuguese international Luis Figo found Santiago Solari, who converted for his fourth goal of the season just on five minutes. For the remainder of the half, Real had several chances - but Atletico struggled to find a way through and the score remained 1-0 at the break. Two minutes after the restart, the home team's luck changed for the better when they were awarded a penalty. Real defender Francisco Pavon received a second yellow card and was sent off when he carlessly tripped substitute Themistoklis Nikolaidis in the penalty area and Veljko Paunovic converted from the spot. Reduced to ten-men, Real almost went behind on 66 minutes when Paunovic, one-on-one with Real's goalkeeper, missed a golden opportunity as he failed to find a way past Casillas. Twelve minutes from time, ten-man Real snatched a second. Against the run of play, Real's Spanish international Ivan Helguera picked an appropriate time to register his first goal of the season when he headed home a David Beckham cross. Two minutes into stoppage time, Atletico had one last chance to level the contest - and prevent their arch-rivals from moving back on top of the Primera Liga - when Nano somehow managed to miss from just two metres out. 2-1 it stayed, and Real went back to the top of the standings, one point ahead of nearest rivals Valencia, who play Real Sociedad on Sunday. Real, whilst leading 1-0, lost defender Francisco Pavon on 47 minutes when he tripped up Themistoklis Nikolaidis in the penalty area and Veljko Paunovic converted from the spot. Ivan Helguera then headed Real to victory 12 minutes from time. The win takes Real to 70 points - one point ahead of their nearest rivals Valencia who play Real Sociedad on Sunday and have a game in hand. (AP)



Topics : Football
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