Cristiano Ronaldo netted
his 31st and 32nd La Liga goals of the season to lift Real
Madrid to a 3-2 comeback win at Real Betis on Saturday that
stretched their lead over second-placed Barcelona to 13 points.
As well as putting Real a step closer to a first title since
2008, the victory in an entertaining clash in Seville set a club
record of 10 straight league wins on the road in coach Jose
Mourinho's 100th game in charge and gave them 70 points from 26
It was also their 11th successive league victory since
losing 3-1 at home to Barca, who visited Racing Santander on
Sunday, in December.
"A very tough game that fortunately we managed to win," Real
forward Gonzalo Higuain told Spanish television. "Each game and
each win is a step closer to the title."
Roared on by around 55,000 supporters at their Benito
Villamarin stadium, Betis took a surprise lead through Jorge
Molina in the 10th minute.
Ruben Castro controlled a cross from the left and laid the
ball into the path of Molina who crashed a powerful first-time
strike high past goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
Real were level 15 minutes later when Mesut Ozil sent
Higuain clear and the Argentina forward fired the ball just
inside the near post.
Casillas tipped a dipping Salva Sevilla free-kick on to the
crossbar four minutes before the break as Betis continued to
pressure the visitors.
Real then went ahead seven minutes into the second half when
Ronaldo turned the ball into the net from close range after
An error from Alvaro Arbeloa, who failed to clear a corner,
allowed Betis to level three minutes later, Jefferson Montero
rifling the loose ball into the net.
Real's 73rd-minute winner came from another corner. Betis
goalkeeper Fabricio did well to keep out a Sergio Ramos header but
the ball fell to Ronaldo and he rifled home.
Elsewhere, Malaga leapfrogged Levante into the fourth
Champions League qualification spot when the big-spending
Qatari-owned club edged past their Valencia-based rivals 1-0 at
Malaga dominated the first half but squandered a slew of
chances before Joaquin's inswinging free-kick flew into the net
off the head of Levante forward Abdelkader Ghezzal six minutes
into the second half.
Levante, who have an annual budget of about 20 million euros compared with Malaga's 100 million, came close
with 10 minutes left but home goalkeeper Willy Caballero blocked a
close-range effort from fellow Argentine Gustavo Cabral.
With 12 matches remaining Malaga have 40 points, two ahead
Bottom club Real Zaragoza lost 3-0 at Real Sociedad who
climbed to 11th on 33 points.
Zaragoza, whose unpopular president put his majority stake
in the financially-troubled club up for sale this week, have 18
points, six behind Sporting Gijon who beat visiting Sevilla 1-0
thanks to Andre Castro's 32nd-minute goal.
The bad-tempered match, the first win for new coach Javier
Clemente, ended in ugly scenes between some players and coaching
staff that spilled over into the tunnel.
Real Madrid and Jose Mourinho will part company at the end of the current season
Italian named as the referee for this Saturday's Champions League final
Spurs miss out on Champions League again despite highest Premier League points tally
Champions closer to matching Real Madrid's La Liga record of 100 points with 2-1 win
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