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Ronaldo, Higuain lead Madrid to win over Santander

Ronaldo, Higuain lead Madrid to win over Santander

Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain scored as Real Madrid beat Racing Santander 2-0 on Sunday to ensure it stayed tied with Barcelona at the top of the Spanish league ahead of their match next weekend.
Ronaldo scored from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute, firing his 18th goal of the season past Fabio Coltorti after being tripped as he broke into the area.
Jose Maria "Guti" Gutierrez sent Higuain clear on Coltorti in the 76th minute for the Argentina striker to score his 24th of the season.
Madrid and Barcelona both have 77 points but Madrid is ahead on goal difference heading into Saturday's game between Spain's two biggest clubs at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
Earlier, David Villa's two late goals helped Valencia beat Osasuna 3-0 and kept his club clear in third. Valencia, which has 56 points with eight games left, are the only team with a mathematical chance of catching Barcelona and Real Madrid to win the league.
Madrid was without Kaka (groin) and suspended regulars Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos at El Sardinero stadium, where golf great Seve Ballesteros was in the stands to watch Madrid labor to victory in what was a largely uninspiring match.
Madrid managed only two shots by halftime, with Higuain firing over after 13 minutes.
Sergio Canales, playing against Madrid for the first time since agreeing to join the Spanish giant from next season, nearly scored against his future club in the 16th. Goalkeeper Iker Casillas came out of his goal to clear his lines following a Santander move started by Canales, who had the ball land to him but whose long-range shot shaved the post.
Jose Moraton tripped Ronaldo as the Portugal forward came flying into the area to set up the opener _ Ronaldo's third penalty scored this season.
A physical game continued with neither side able to breach the other's area, but Guti's entry for Esteban Granero in the 61st minute gave Madrid some inspiration.
Higuain collected a well-flighted pass and slid his finish into the net. Higuain and Ronaldo have scored more than half of the club's 83 goals this campaign.
Guti latched onto a loose ball in the 81st but his high hit the crossbar, while Ronaldo volleyed Higuain's pass over the bar in the 86th with Coltorti beaten.
Madrid is looking to break a three-game losing streak against Barcelona, which scored a record 6-2 win at the Bernabeu last year.
At the Mestalla stadium, Joaquin Sanchez opened the scoring in the 48th minute after getting a slight touch to Juanma Mata's center to trickle the ball past goalkeeper Ricardo Lopez.
Villa, who struggled with his touch for most of the game, guided Pablo Hernandez's cross past Lopez in the 90th minute before the Osasuna goalkeeper tripped Villa for an injury-time penalty, which the Spain international scored for his 20th goal of the season.
Pierre Webo's 88th-minute equalizer earned Mallorca a 1-1 draw at Almeria to remain fourth, on goal difference over Sevilla, which beat Tenerife on Saturday to climb to 48 points. Kalu Uche headed in the opener after five minutes.
Valladolid's relegation worries continued following a 2-0 defeat to Villarreal, while last-place Xerez maintained its hopes of staying up with a 2-2 draw at Sporting Gijon.
"The truth is that we're coming up with numbers better suited to the second division," Valladolid coach Onesimo Sanchez said.
Valladolid is only one point ahead of Xerez after the last-place club stretched its unbeaten run to four games.
"We'll have to do the impossible to save ourselves," Xerez coach Nestor Gorosito said.
Also, Pablo Osvaldo canceled out Manu Del Moral's 28th-minute opener with a looping shot in the 50th as Espanyol rallied to draw 1-1 at Getafe. Atletico Madrid plays Deportivo La Coruna in Sunday's late game.
Zaragoza beat Malaga 2-0 on Saturday.


Updated : 2020-12-01 08:20 GMT+08:00