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Real stay on Barca’s tail

sports Updated: Apr 26, 2010 00:29 IST

Agencies
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Brazilian super-sub Kaka ended a six-week injury absence by grabbing the winner for Real Madrid in a 2-1 victory over Zaragoza, which kept his side right behind Barcelona at the top of La Liga.

The onus was on Real after Barcelona had earlier beaten Xerez 3-1 at the Nou Camp to open up a four-point lead, and it started badly on Saturday night when they lost Rafael Van der Vaart to injury.

Raul, who came on for the Dutchman, saw a shot come back off the post in the first half before putting Real into the lead after the break and the visitors appeared to be comfortably in control when Zaragoza were reduced to 10-men after Matteo Contini was red-carded.

However, Adrian Colunga rounded keeper Iker Casillas to equalise and Zaragoza continued to stretch the Real defence on the counter-attack. Real were reduced to shots from distance as they desperately sought the winner until Kaka came off the bench to score with just eight minutes left.

Striker Thierry Henry struck his first goal in over two months as defending champions Barcelona beat nine-man Xerez. Coach Pep Guardiola sent out a makeshift side with several players rested ahead of next week’s Champions League semifinal clash against Inter Milan while Dani Alves was suspended. Following an opener from Jeffren Isaias, Henry, given a rare start, then found the back of the net for the first time since he scored against Racing Santander in mid-February.