MADRID - Gonzalo Higuain scored a hat-trick
as Real Madrid crushed Espanyol 4-0 away, moving them to within
a point of new La Liga leaders Barcelona who won 1-0 at Sporting
Gijon on Sunday.
The Argentina striker completed his treble in the 89th
minute, shortly after substitute Jose Callejon had made it 3-0.
Champions Barca were 1-0 victors at bottom club Sporting
where a 12th-minute strike from Adriano Correia was enough to
earn them their first away success in the league this season.
Barca have 14 points from six games and are ahead of
second-placed Levante on goal difference, after one of the
season´s surprise early form teams beat another, Real Betis, 1-0
Juanlu´s volley went into the net off the legs of Betis
goalkeeper Casto Espinosa in the 33rd minute and from there on
their rugged defence held firm to maintain their unbeaten start
to the campaign.
The Valencia-based club, who claimed the scalp of Real two
weeks ago, were one point ahead of Jose Mourinho´s men in third,
and Malaga and Valencia who both won on Saturday.
"I would like to have one more point, but one point is
nothing really," Real coach Jose Mourinho told reporters. "The
team that deserve all the attention [at the top] are Levante.
"They are the smallest, they don´t get the same attention
and they deserve it."
Sevilla went sixth with 12 points, ahead of their city
rivals Betis on goal difference, after a 0-0 draw at Atletico
Madrid where goalkeepers Javi Varas and Thibaut Courtois both
Real´s lightning-quick counter-attacks sank a spirited
Espanyol in Barcelona with Cristiano Ronaldo laying on the first
for Higuain after 17 minutes.
The Argentine, starting in place of the injured Karim
Benzema, lashed his second into the far top corner in the 66th
and Callejon sealed the win from Ronaldo´s lay-off in the 82nd.
The youngster apologised to home fans who had idolised him
over the previous three seasons before he returned to the
Bernanbeu during the summer, and Higuain grabbed a late fourth.
"I had to work very hard to get back to playing again,"
Higuain told Spanish television, referring to the back injury
that made him miss much of last season.
"I recovered as best I could and I´m now delighted to have
had a game like this."
Barca´s Adriano scored after Xavi´s shot came back off the
post, but the visitors were not at their best and a third
successive away draw was always a possibility in the face of a
"It was hard work but it was worth it," Adriano told
reporters. "The points are worth their weight in gold."
In the midday kick-off, Real Sociedad's Inigo Martinez scored
from inside his own half in the Basque derby, but Fernando
Llorente's brace made sure Athletic Bilbao earned a 2-1 away
Centre-back Martinez let fly from over 50 metres out and
caught Gorka Iraizoz off his line, the visiting keeper perhaps
distracted after one of his defenders had just been carried off
on a stretcher.
Spain striker Llorente had put Bilbao ahead, turning in the
area to score in the 34th minute, before Martinez levelled just
past the hour mark in a sun-soaked San Sebastian.
Llorente then struck a superb volley to restore Bilbao's
advantage in the 71st minute and earn under-pressure Argentine
coach Marcelo Bielsa a first league win this season.
Bilbao climbed out of the bottom three to five points from
six games, two behind their hosts in ninth.
Stoke City and manager Tony Pulis part company by mutual agreement after seven years
Andy Carroll pulls out of England's friendly internationals against Ireland and Brazil
Manchester City and the New York Yankees have formed a new Major League Soccer team
Real Madrid president under scrutiny after latest coaching project ends in disarray
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010