Real Madrid CF have moved level on points with Club Atlético de Madrid at the top of the Spanish Liga by securing a 4-2 win against European hopefuls Villarreal CF before Atlético succumbed 2-0 at UD Almería.
Gareth Bale seized a misplaced ball to give Madrid an early lead and laid on a second for Karim Benzema, but a thunderous Mario Gaspar shot reduced the deficit before the break. Jesé's third goal in as many games restored Madrid's advantage, and while Giovani dos Santos struck back with a fierce free-kick, Benzema put the finishing touch to a counterattack to round off the scoring with 15 minutes to go.
Atlético's hopes of regaining their three-point lead were dashed as the Rojiblancos fell to a late Verza double in windy Almeria. After a match with few chances, Verza's cross floated over goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia to hand the hosts a lead. Aranzubia's day worsened soon after when was dismissed for bringing down Sundy Zongo, and Verza sent makeshift goalkeeper Gabi the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Earlier, Valencia CF overwhelmed fellow UEFA Europa League contenders Real Betis Balompié 5-0 at Mestalla. Vanquisher of FC Barcelona last week, Pablo Alcácer, scored twice – his third and fourth in the space of three league games to help put Betis to the sword.
To make matters worse for Betis, second-from-bottom Rayo Vallecano de Madrid beat ten-man Málaga CF 4-1 at home to leave the Seville side six points adrift at the foot of the table. RCD Espanyol won 1-0 at home against Granada CF on Friday.
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|Last updated: 08/02/2014 23:57 CET|
Verza 80, 86 (P)
|1||Real Madrid CF||23||57|
|2||Club Atlético de Madrid||23||57|
|6||Real Sociedad de Fútbol||22||36|
|11||RC Celta de Vigo||22||25|
|18||Real Valladolid CF||22||20|
|19||Rayo Vallecano de Madrid||23||20|
|20||Real Betis Balompié||23||14|