Sunday, January 13, 2008
La Liga: Ruud rules the roost for Real
MADRID, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Leaders Real Madrid needed two
late goals from Ruud van Nistelrooy to beat basement club
Levante 2-0 away in the Primera Liga on Sunday.
The Dutchman scored with a penalty and a long-range effort
in the last 15 minutes to end a spirited display from the home
side, and restore Real's seven-point lead at the midway point of
Barcelona are second with 40 points following their 4-0
hammering of Real Murcia at the Nou Camp on Saturday.
Levante had one goal and one point to their name from their
previous five outings but took the game to Real, causing the
visitors problems at every set piece.
Julio Baptista and Raul had shots blocked on the line in a
double chance at a corner in the 22nd minute, but offered little
before the break.
Soon after the restart, Baptista failed to put away another
scrappy chance as the ball bobbled on to a post and Robinho
lashed a shot against the post in the 70th.
A handball in the 75th minute gave Van Nistelrooy the chance
to break the deadlock from the penalty spot, and with two
minutes to go he fired in a low shot from outside the area to
seal the win.
Atletico Madrid climbed to third on 37 points after riding
their luck to secure a 1-0 home win over Valencia.
Argentine Sergio Aguero scored the game's only goal
following an error from German goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand in the
first half, but Valencia twice hit the woodwork in a storming
second half assault on the home goal.
Espanyol slipped to fourth on 36 after their 14-match
unbeaten run ended in a 1-0 defeat in Almeria.
Turkish striker Nihat Kahveci scored twice to help
Villarreal to a 4-3 comeback win at home against Deportivo
Coruna that put them fifth on 35.
Struggling Depor took a 2-1 lead before Nihat poached an
equaliser midway through the second half and then curled a
superb shot in the top corner two minutes later.
Danish forward Jon Dahl Tomasson made it four from the
penalty spot while Depor finished with 10 men and a late goal
from Mexican Andres Guardado.
The goalkeeping performance of the day came from Portugal's
Ricardo Pereira who denied Getafe a hatful of goals as Real
Betis stole a 3-2 home win.