La Liga review: Real go 10 clear at summit

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Real Madrid opened up a 10 point gap over Barcelona in the Primera Division after the reigning champions were beaten 3-2 at the hands of Osasuna on Saturday evening.

Real Madrid’s 4-2 victory over Levante at the Bernabeu gave Jose Mourinho’s side some breathing space at the top of the Spanish league with Barcelona all but out of the title race.

The reigning champions’ away form was to be their downfall again as they went two goals behind in the first half thanks to Dejan Lekic who struck in the 5th minute and then poked in a cross from close range to double his side’s lead in the 21st minute.

Alexis Sanchez pulled one back for the visitors five minutes into the second half but just five minutes later Osasuna restored their two goal cushion when some sloppy play at the back from Barca allowed Raul Garcia to score at the near post.

20-year-old Barca winger Cristian Tello gave his side some hope of a comeback with a well taken goal in the 72nd minute and Alexis Sanchez had a late goal ruled out for offside but Barcelona could not find the equaliser despite a golden chance late on for Cesc Fabregas.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Real Betis beat in-form Athletic Bilbao 2-1 at home with goals from Ruben Castro and Nelson cancelling out Javi Martinez’s first half strike and the Bilbao midfielder was subsequently sent off in the second half; Atletico Madrid kept their undefeated streak under Diego Simeone after a 0-0 draw with Racing Santander away from home.

A hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo helped Real Madrid to a 4-2 victory over fourth-place Levante after the home side were given an early scare when Levante took the lead in the 4th minute.

Gustave Cabral headed the away side in front and it took Real Madrid until a minute before half time to restore parity after Vicente Iborra was shown a second yellow card for handling the ball inside his own box, allowing Ronaldo to equalise from the spot.

It didn’t take Madrid long to take the lead and just five minutes into the second half Ronaldo had headed home Gonzalo Higuain’s cross from the right, before hitting a stunning strike in the 56th minute from outside the box that dipped over the ‘keeper and slammed into the back of the net.

Arouna Kone pulled one back for Levante to make it 3-2 in the 62nd minute but Karim Benzema sealed the win for Real Madrid just three minutes later with a curling effort from inside the box.

It is hard to see Jose Mourinho’s team dropping 10 points in the league and it will surely be an almighty effort from Barcelona to catch Real Madrid now, especially considering Pep Guardiola sides’ poor away form.

Valencia got back to winning ways on Sunday with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Sporting Gijon after goals from Sofiane Feghouli, an own goal from Alberto Botia and two late strikes from Jonas ended their dismal run of three defeats in a row, and five without a win.

Villarreal climbed above their opponents Granada into 14th position in the league table after a 3-1 win at El Madrigal, with goals from Marco Ruben, Borja Valero and an OG from Cesar; Inigo Lopez scored what proved to be just a consolation goal for Granada.

Malaga beat Mallorca 3-1 at home despite an early scare after the away side took the lead through Michael Pereira before Sebastian Fernandez equalised in the 10th minute which calmed the nerves of the home team, and second half goals from Jeremy Toulalan and Salomon Rondon secured the three points.

Elsewhere on Sunday, bottom placed Real Zaragoza picked up their first win since October with an unlikely 2-0 victory over 5th place Espanyol, courtesy of goals from Paulo da Silva and Carlos Aranda; Rayo Vallecano beat Getafe 2-0 at home thanks to goals from Michu and Diego Costa.


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