Three goals in seven second-half minutes gave Real Madrid CF a 3-0 victory at Xerez CD on Saturday evening but third-placed Valencia CF dropped points.
With FC Barcelona not visiting Club Atlético de Madrid until Sunday, the opportunity was there for Los Merengues to go within two points of the unbeaten leaders as Madrid prepare to visit Olympique Lyonnais in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. They were frustrated by the bottom side until the 64th minute, when Álvaro Arbeloa was played through, cut in from the right and calmly scored his first goal of the season.
Soon afterwards, Kaká got to the byline on the right and chipped in a cross that Cristiano Ronaldo met with a bullet header. Two minutes later the same players combined again, this time the Portuguese international shooting into an empty net for his 17th Madrid goal having had his initial pass returned by the Brazilian. Iker Casillas kept a clean sheet on his 500th competitive club appearance, while Madrid's players wore black armbands as a mark of respect for former player and coach Luis Molowny, who died on Friday at the age of 84.
Valencia are ten points adrift of Madrid following a 1-1 draw at Real Sporting de Gijón. Diego Castro put Sporting ahead on five minutes, not long after Carmelo had hit the post, and only a quarter-hour remained when Juan Mata levelled following a good ball from Éver Banega. Seventh-placed Athletic Club missed a late penalty to lose 2-1 at Villarreal CF; both teams were reduced to ten men in added time and are in UEFA Europa League round of 32 action on Thursday.
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|Last updated: 04/07/2011 03:15 CET|
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