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Football

Jese helps Real keep pace

Twenty-year-old scores first of Real's three goals as they beat Getafe to go joint top with Barca and Atletico Madrid.

Last updated: 17 Feb 2014 08:23
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Jese is proving a hit at Real Madrid since the departure of Gonzalo Higuain last summer [AP]

Real Madrid extended their unbeaten run to 25 matches and rejoined Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga when Jese, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric scored in a 3-0 win at Getafe.

Barca and Atletico had recorded easy home wins on Saturday, the champions thrashing Rayo Vallecano 6-0 and Atletico thumping Real Valladolid 3-0, and the title race remains a tight three-way fight with 14 matches left.

The trio, who each have 60 points from 24 games, will be separated by their head-to-head records if they are still tied at the end of the campaign.

Real have not been beaten since a 2-1 La Liga reverse at Barca at the end of October. They lost 1-0 at home to Atletico in the league a month earlier, while Barca and Atletico drew 0-0 in Madrid last month.

"We have to carry on like this because the important part of the season is starting now," Real coach Carlo Ancelotti, whose side play their Champions League last 16, first leg at Schalke 04 in 10 days, said.

Primera Division

Friday February 14

Elche 0-0 Osasuna

Saturday February 15

Atletico Madrid 3-0 Real Valladolid
Barcelona 6-0 Rayo Vallecano
Levante 1-0 Almeria
Villarreal 0-2 Celta de Vigo


Sunday February 16

Getafe 0-3 Real Madrid
Grenada 1-0 Real Betis
Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Espanyol
Sevilla v Valencia

"We are more solid and have more confidence," added the Italian, who won the French title with Paris Saint-Germain last year. "We are in good physical and mental shape."

Athletic Bilbao are trailing in fourth on 44 points after losing 2-1 at home to Espanyol, the Basque club's first defeat at their new San Mames stadium in La Liga.

Sevilla host Valencia in the late kickoff in a clash of ninth against 10th.

Real were missing La Liga top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo for the trip to the Madrid suburbs and it was the player deployed in place of the suspended Portugal forward, Jese, who opened the scoring at Getafe's Coliseum stadium in the sixth minute.

France forward Benzema finished off a swift break with some neat control and a clinical shot in the 27th and Croatia midfielder Modric fired a third from just outside the penalty area in the 66th.

"I am happy with the goals that I am giving to the team," Jese, a product of Real's academy who has been on good form in recent weeks, told reporters.

"It is important that the coach has faith in me and I am grateful," added the 20-year-old, who will turn 21 on the day of the first leg at Schalke.

Bottom side Real Betis look destined for the drop after they lost 1-0 in Sunday's midday kickoff at Andalusian rivals Granada.

Seville-based Betis have won just three games this season and have 14 points, six adrift of 19th-placed Rayo. Getafe are 16th on 25 points, two fewer than 12th-placed Granada.

Espanyol are seventh on 32 points, five behind Real Sociedad, who play at struggling Malaga on Monday.

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