Gonzalo Higuaín was poised to dominate the headlines by scoring all four of ten-man Real Madrid CF's goals in the 4-3 win against Málaga CF, only for Samuel Eto'o to equal the feat in FC Barcelona's 6-0 rout of Real Valladolid CF.
Madrid were given a thorough examination of their title credentials by Málaga as they were forced to come from behind three times at the Santiago Bernabéu. Eliseu's early effort was cancelled out when Higuaín reacted quickest after Marcelo's shot was saved, but Nabil Baha restored the visitors' advantage by finishing clinically on 18 minutes. A Higuaín pass was handled by Wellington and the Argentinian dispatched the penalty to level again before Sergio Ramos was sent off before the break.
Fernando Gago's foul resulted in Apoño giving Málaga a third lead from the penalty spot but Higuaín immediately completed his hat-trick from 25 metres with a low drive. The 20-year-old then won his second penalty of the evening and tucked home the rebound after his spot-kick was saved by Francesc Arnau to move Madrid top for a few hours.
Barça had scored eleven times in their past two league matches at Camp Nou and Eto'o ensured their sensational form would continue with four strikes in the first half. He cut inside to slide in his first on 12 minutes and doubled the lead by firing in from close range after another superb move culminated with Thierry Henry's shot being parried to the Cameroonian.
Two goals in as many minutes towards the end of the half completed the 27-year-old's purple patch. His hat-trick was finished off from a tight angle following Lionel Messi's acute pass before a deflection fell kindly to Eto'o to make it 4-0. Eidur Gudjohnsen (71) clipped in another and Aleksandr Hleb set up Henry for number six to restore the two-point gap on Bernd Schuster's side, although unbeaten Villarreal CF can move within a point of the leaders with a Sunday success against UD Almería.
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|Last updated: 30/11/2012 13:03 CET|
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