Real keep up the pressure

Ronaldo scores twice but is sent off as Real beat Malaga 2-0.

    Ronaldo scored twice, but was sent off [AFP]
    Cristiano Ronaldo scored both Real Madrid's goals in a 2-0 win over Malaga on Sunday but was later red-carded for deliberately elbowing defender Patrick Jan Mtiliga in the face.

    Ronaldo ended a three game scoring drought in the 35th minute in Spain's Primera Division when Karim Benzema played the ball to Kaka, who crossed to the Portuguese winger to slot the ball home from close range.

    Ronaldo then scored his ninth goal of the season four minutes later, firing the ball into the roof of the net after being put through by Jose Maria "Guti'' Gutierrez.

    Temper, temper

    But the Portugal forward's temper got the better of him 20 minutes from time as he lashed out with his elbow, striking Mtiliga in the face.

    Mtiliga was substituted with blood pouring from his nose.

    Madrid's 10th straight home win allows them to stay within five points of Barcelona, who won 3-0 at Valladolid on Saturday.

    Ronaldo's sending off means the world's most expensive footballer will miss at least one game through suspension just when Madrid's main rivals are in sublime form after finishing the first half of the season unbeaten.

    Barcelona have 49 points and Madrid 44, while Valencia are third with 39 points after a 0-0 draw against Tenerife. Mallorca went fourth - tied with Deportivo La Coruna at 34 points - after rallying for a 1-1 draw at Espanyol with a late penalty.

    Loose ball

    Pablo Osvaldo put Espanyol ahead at the Cornella-El Prat Stadium in the 49th after slotting home a loose ball. But Victor Ruiz brought Ruben Gonzalez down inside the area to set up Borja Valero's 80th-minute penalty for Mallorca.

    Manu del Moral's 39th-minute score snapped Getafe's two-game losing run as Atletico - who had a four game winning run ended - played the final 23 minutes with 10 men after Paulo Assuncao was red-carded.

    Joan Capdevila scored after three minutes and strikers Nilmar and Giuseppe Rossi also added goals inside 26 minutes for Villarreal.

    Zaragoza, who stayed second bottom, started their rally in the 75th when Eliseu latched on to Humberto Suaro's cross to score and Angel Lafita added a second seven minutes later.

    Liga results

    Saturday January 23

     Deportivo 3-1 Bilbao
     Sevilla 1-0 Almeria
     Valladolid 0-3 Barcelona

    Sunday January 24

     Espanyol 1-1 Mallorca
     Getafe 1-0 Atletico Madrid
     Real Madrid 2-0 Malaga
     Sporting Gijon 0-1 Racing
     Tenerife 0-0 Valencia
     Villarreal 4-2 Real Zaragoza
     Xerez 1-0 Osasuna

    But Villarreal ensured their first win in over a month through Ariel Ibagaza's 88th-minute goal.

    Javier Camunas' 83rd-minute strike brought Osasuna victory and new Xerez coach Nestor Gorosito defeat in his first game in charge of the last-place club.

    Ignacio Monreal latched onto a rebound to score in the ninth minute for Osasuna. Xerez, who haven't won since October, equalised through Mario Bermejo's 23rd-minute header before Camunas grabbed the winner.

    At El Molinon, Alex Geijo received Mohamed Tchite's pass with his chest and controlled the ball before firing past goalkeeper Juan Pablo Colinas from inside the area in the 44th minute for Racing, who had defender Oriol Lazano sent off in the 89th. 



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