A late Sergio Ramos strike ensured Real Madrid CF defeated rivals FC Barcelona 2-1 – a second victory against their rivals inside a week following Tuesday's Copa del Rey semi-final triumph.
With one eye on their upcoming UEFA Champions League second leg against Manchester United FC, José Mourinho opted to leave Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Özil, Sami Khedira and Xabi Alonso out of Madrid's starting lineup. The hosts nevertheless got off to the perfect start, Karim Benzema knocking in an early Álvaro Morata centre. Lionel Messi equalised, cutting inside his marker and beating Diego López with a low shot at his near post.
As was the case last week against RC Deportivo La Coruña, the introduction of Ronaldo swung the momentum in Madrid's favour. Victor Valdés was the keeper most worked in the second period, and was eventually beaten when Ramos headed in Luka Modrić's corner with eight minutes to go. Madrid stay third, 13 points adrift of Barça.
Valencia CF passed up the chance to move fourth as they conceded a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw with local rivals Levante UD. The visitors took the lead through Vicente Iborra, but goals from Jonas and Roberto Soldado seemed to have earned the hosts a comeback win. However, with the game coming to a close, José Barkero took advantage of a slip in defence to finish wonderfully with the outside of his foot and snatch a late point.
Elsewhere, Athletic Club won 1-0 at CA Osasuna, while RC Deportivo La Coruña versus Rayo Vallecano de Madrid finished goalless.
©UEFA.com 1998-2013. All rights reserved.
|Last updated: 18/03/2013 21:45 CET|
|Venue: La Coruna|
|2||Club Atlético de Madrid||25||56|
|3||Real Madrid CF||26||55|
|6||Real Sociedad de Fútbol||25||40|
|7||Real Betis Balompié||25||39|
|9||Rayo Vallecano de Madrid||26||38|
|11||Real Valladolid CF||25||33|
|18||RC Celta de Vigo||25||23|
|20||RC Deportivo La Coruña||26||17|