By Andy Hall
Michael Owen scored his second goal inside a week as Real Madrid CF defeated Spanish champions Valencia CF 1-0 at the Santiago Bernabéu tonight to move into the top half of the Primera División.
It took the former Liverpool FC forward, who also scored the only goal against FC Dynamo Kyiv in the UEFA Champions League in midweek, just seven minutes to put Madrid ahead. Latching on to a Raúl González through-ball after a fine piece of skill from Zinedine Zidane, Owen accelerated and flicked the ball the oncoming Santiago Cañizares and into the roof of the net with the outside of his right foot.
Owen's goal aside, the first half was an even affair although Madrid looked the more likely scorers. Ronaldo shot wide with only Santigo Cañizares to beat on 27 minutes, while Valencia's Miguel Ángel Angulo also narrowly missed the target when well placed.
Claudio Ranieri replaced Mohamed Sissoko and Francisco Rufete with Pablo Aimar and Stefano Fiore at the start of the second half, and the pair helped increase the pace as the champions started to pressurise the Madrid defence. David Albelda produced a tricky, bobbling low shot that Iker Casillas bundled wide on 56 minutes, and despite late pressure, Claudio Raneiri's side could not find a way through and succumbed to their second successive defeat and fourth in their last five games in all competitions.
Diego Tristán scored a late goal to salvage a point for RC Deportivo La Coruña, who trailed for much of their game at Málaga CF. The Andalucian outfit stunned the visitors as early as the sixth minute when summer signing Paulo Wanchope grabbed his fourth goal of the season after Croatian midfield player Ivan Leko had broken the offside trap with a delicate lob.
Depor laid siege to the Málaga goal from then on, though the home side remained a threat on the counterattack. After Albert Luque had been denied a number of times, Miguel Ángel Lozano hit the woodwork just after the hour following good work from Vicente Valcarce. With the game nearing its conclusion, Depor coach Javier Irureta brought on Pedro Munitis and Tristán and the decision proved decisive, with Muntis crossing for Tristán to head past Juan Calatayud with just five minutes remaining.
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|Last updated: 31/01/2012 10:14 CET|
Falcao 43 (penalty)
Hemed 2 (penalty)
|Venue: San Sebastian|
Bangoura 80, Koke 88 (penalty)