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Real Madrid moves seven points clear atop table after 1-0 win at Barcelona

Real Madrid moves seven points clear atop table after 1-0 win at Barcelona

Julio Baptista scored in the 36th minute to give Real Madrid a 1-0 victory over FC Barcelona 1-0 in the Spanish league's classic derby.
The Brazil forward met Ruud van Nistelrooy's flicked-on pass with a right-footed shot that spun across goal and into the top right of net past Victor Valdes.
Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas thwarted several Barcelona scoring chances _ including a hard shot by substitute Bojan Krkic in the 84th _ but the Catalan club appeared lifeless without Argentine winger Lionel Messi, who was nursing a thigh injury.
"It wasn't Barcelona's night," manager Frank Rijkaard said. "We have to digest this loss and look to move forward."
With only its third victory at the Camp Nou in 24 years, Madrid moved seven points clear of second-placed Barcelona atop the table with 41 points as the league begins its two-week winter break.
"The fact that Barcelona didn't score at home says it all," Madrid manager Bernd Schuster said. "The seven points are an important advantage but it's still too early to talk about titles."
Elsewhere, Luis Garcia scored the winner in the 85th minute to rally Espanyol to a 2-1 win over nine-man Atletico Madrid.
The win moved Espanyol into third with 33 points, stretching its unbeaten streak to 13 games. Atletico has 31 points.
Nihat Kahveci scored his third goal in two games to rally Villarreal for a 1-1 draw against Recreativo Huelva. The Turkey striker scored two minutes after Javier Camunas' goal in the 37th.
Also Sunday, it was: Osasuna 3, Mallorca 1; Levante 0, Deportivo La Coruna 1; Valladolid 0, Real Betis 0; and Athletic Bilbao 1, Murcia 1.
Despite Ronaldinho's return to the starting lineup, Barcelona failed to generate a constant fluid style and was held scoreless at the Camp Nou for the first time in over two years.
"It went well because my team worked hard and we took advantage of a good moment but I wouldn't say it was an easy victory," Schuster said.
Neither team put a shot on net until the 12th: Pepe redirecting Wesley Sneijder's free kick with Valdes crouching to cradle the header.
Petty fouls hindered the the match until Barcelona found its rhythm in the 30th.
Casillas raced off his line to poke a ball away from an onrushing Samuel Eto'o, then recovered to knock away Andres Iniesta's effort on the rebound.
Xavi Hernandez had Barcelona's first shot on net in the 33rd, Casillas catching the long range strike.
The Spain goalkeeper dropped to stop a hard, cross-goal shot from Ronaldinho two minutes before Baptista struck after a quick exchange with Van Nistelrooy.
"Baptista's goal did a lot of damage and changed the rhythm of the game," Rijkaard said.
Robinho tested Valdes before both teams went into the lockers with tempers charged from 25 fouls called.
Barcelona pressed to start the second half while Madrid appeared content to counterattack, Sergio Ramos forcing Valdes into a save in the 56th and Van Nistelrooy shooting wide from the left five minutes later.
Rijkaard left Thierry Henry on the bench and inserted Krkic for Xavi in the 82nd minute and Giovano Dos Santos for Deco in the 56th.
"I hoped we could change the result until the last moment and we fought to, but it was hard to create occasions," said Rijkaard, whose team dropped its first home match in 12 dates this campaign. "They were very well organized at the back, with a lot of players behind the ball and a lot of danger on the counterattack."
It was Madrid's fourth straight win and first at the Camp Nou since 2003.
At Madrid, Raul Tamudo chested in a corner for Espanyol in the 53rd, two minutes before Atletico's Mariano Pernia joined striker Sergio Aguero on the sidelines following a second yellow card.
Atletico's Simao Sabrosa curled a free kick inside the far post to open the scoring in the 30th, seven minutes after Aguero was expelled for lashing out at Marc Torrejon.
On Saturday, Valencia rallied for a 2-2 draw at Zaragoza, Sevilla defeated Racing Santander 4-1 and Getafe beat Almeria 2-0.
Hector Font, Jaroslav Plasil and substitute Hugo Viana scored for Osasuna, with Daniel Guiza scoring his eighth goal for Mallorca in the 49th.
Sergio Gonzalez scored from the penalty spot in the 85th to improve second-last Deportivo to 17 points.
At San Mames, Fernando Baiano's penalty in the 54th saved a point for Murcia, which dominated after Koikili Lertxundi converted the rebound from Pablo Orbaiz's penalty miss in first-half injury time.


Updated : 2021-04-12 14:52 GMT+08:00