Real restore pride with 2-0 win

Madrid restored some measure of pride after a midweek Cup mauling at the hands of Real Zaragoza as they chalked up their fifth league victory in a row with a 2-0 win at Athletic Bilbao.

india Updated: Feb 12, 2006 16:27 IST
Reuters
Reuters
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Real Madrid restored some measure of pride after a midweek Cup mauling at the hands of Real Zaragoza as they chalked up their fifth league victory in a row with a 2-0 win at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

An early Robinho goal and an injury-time strike from substitute Raul Bravo earned Real a win over the struggling Basque side that lifted them to second, seven points behind Barcelona who visit third-placed Valencia on Sunday.

Defeat for Bilbao left them a point off the bottom with all their immediate rivals yet to play this weekend.

Earlier on Saturday fourth-placed Osasuna had to settle for a 1-1 draw at home to Real Zaragoza despite dominating their in-form opponents for most of the match.

The Navarrans got off to a flying start with a third minute goal when Zaragoza old boy Savo Milosevic headed in after midfielder Ludovic Deporte ballooned a cross into the area.

Zaragoza were a mere shadow of the side who demolished Real Madrid 6-1 in their King's Cup semi-final, first leg on Wednesday and rarely threatened the Osasuna goal.

But they still managed to snatch an equaliser against the run of play just before halftime when Argentine midfielder Leonardo Ponzio netted with a curling free kick.

Sevilla moved up to fifth place, five points behind Osasuna, thanks to a 4-0 victory at fellow Andalucians Cadiz.

Argentine Javier Saviola opened the scoring in the sixth minute and fellow forwards Kepa and Frederic Kanoute grabbed late goals to complete an emphatic win for Juande Ramos's side.

PROMISING START

Real Madrid, looking to bounce back after their humiliation in the Cup, made a promising start at San Mames when Robinho gave them a fifth-minute lead.

The Brazilian outpaced the Bilbao defence to latch on to a superb first time through pass from Zinedine Zidane and slotted a low shot underneath keeper Inaki Lafuente to score his fourth goal against the Basques in the league and Cup this season.

Bilbao responded well after the setback and laid siege to Real's area but they were kept at bay by some assured defending from Jonathan Woodgate and several sharp saves by Iker Casillas.

Real always looked dangerous on the break, however, and had three good chances to extend their lead before halftime.

Robinho sliced a shot over the bar after being put clear and was denied as Lafuente got a foot to a powerful half-volley. The Bilbao keeper then produced a fine block to stop a Ronaldo drive soon after.

Bilbao enjoyed the lion's share of possession in the second half, but although the home side put together some promising attacks they nearly always broke down on the edge of the area.

Real made sure of the pointsd when fullback Bravo side-footed into an empty net after Robinho had slid the ball behind the Bilbao defence in added time.

First Published: Feb 12, 2006 16:27 IST