Real stay in pursuit of Barca

Late Ronaldo strike gives Madridistas 3-2 win over Osasuna in Spanish Primera Division.

    Ronaldo kept his side in with a chance of overhauling Barca at the top [AFP]

    Cristiano Ronaldo headed an 89th minute winner for Real Madrid as they came from behind to beat Osasuna 3-2 at home to stay hot on the heels of leaders Barcelona in the Spanish Primera Division.

    Barca's 4-1 victory at Villarreal on Saturday had opened up a four point gap at the top of the standings, and there were nerves aplenty at the Bernabeu a day later.

    Defensive errors allowed Carlos Aranda and Krisztian Vadocz to twice put the Navarrans ahead, but Ronaldo and Marcelo grabbing the equalisers, the latter coming just before the break.

    Both sides missed chances in an increasingly fraught second half until Ronaldo rose to head his second goal from Gonzalo Higuain's cross at the end, drawing a collective sigh of relief from a packed stadium.

    Barca have 90 points, one ahead of Real, with three matches to play.

    In the late game, Real Mallorca kept up their push for a place in the European Champions League next season, retaking fourth place from Sevilla with a 3-1 win over Athletic Bilbao at San Mames.

    Gonzalo Castro, Nunes and Aritz Aduriz scored the goals that moved the islanders on to 59 points two ahead of Sevilla, who had earlier won a dress rehearsal for the King's Cup final by beating Atletico Madrid 3-1 at home.

    Weakened

    Any doubts that Atletico would be taking it easy after also reaching the Europa League final three days ago were dispelled in a frenetic opening, even though they fielded a weakened side.

    Results & fixtures

    Saturday May 1

     Tenerife 2-1 Santander
     Deportivo 0-1 Zaragoza
     Malaga 1-1 Gijon
     Espanyol 0-2 Valencia
     Valladolid 0-0 Getafe
     Villarreal 1-4 Barcelona
     Xerez 2-1 Almeria

    Sunday May 2

     
    Sevilla 3-1 Atl Madrid
     Real Madrid 3-2 Osasuna
     Athl Bilbao 1-3 Mallorca

    There was a flurry of early goals with an unmarked Luis Fabiano putting the home side ahead after five minutes.

    Tiago Cardoso then levelled after latching onto a loose ball in the box.

    Negredo restored Sevilla's advantage with a penalty after Juan Valera upended Adriano Correia and then, six minutes before half time, scored his second spot kick following a foul by Luis Perea on Fabiano.
     
    It was a crude challenge by the Colombian which forced Fabiano off the pitch with an ankle injury which is expected to keep him out for up to ten days and puts him in danger of missing the cup final.

    "It was not an easy game as the Atletico players are professionals and did not make it easy for us," said Sevilla coach Antonio Alvarez.

    "Fabiano's ankle is swollen but it is not as bad as we thought at first and he should be okay for the cup final (on May 19)."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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