Mon, Nov 26, 2007 - Page 18 News List

LFP: Real Madrid snatch early lead but only take share of points

SEEING RED The reigning champs had a man sent off, while Barcelona maintained their impressive home form with another victory

AFP , MADRID

Ten-man Real Madrid allowed Barcelona to make up ground in the race for the Spanish title after stumbling to a 1-1 draw at Real Murcia on Saturday.

Robinho put Real ahead after just eight minutes but Enrique De Lucas equalized shortly after the interval.

Spanish international Guti was sent off late in the game for a kick as Real's frustrations boiled over.

Real are now just two points ahead of Barcelona who made it a perfect seven home wins at their fortress Camp Nou with three second-half goals clinching a 3-0 victory over Recreativo Huelva on Saturday.

Gaby Milito made the breakthrough on 63 minutes with a header before teenage prodigy Bojan Krkic showed composure to score two minutes later.

The 17-year-old Bojan, tipped for a big future, admitted he was still coming to terms with life as a soccer superstar.

"Just three months ago I was at college," Bojan said. "To be honest I still can't believe everything that is happening. The feeling of scoring here at Camp Nou and then celebrating with my team-mates was incredible."

Argentine Lionel Messi completed the scoring late on with his eighth goal of the campaign.

Barcelona climbed to joint-second, level on points with Villarreal who had the opportunity to replace Real at the top of La Liga with a victory over Almeria yesterday.

Sevilla challenged for the title with Real and Barcelona last season but the troubled club fell to their seventh defeat of the season -- they only lost nine in the whole of the last campaign -- with a 2-1 home reverse against Real Mallorca on Saturday.

Robinho headed Real ahead after just eight minutes with his third goal in two games but they failed to build on the perfect start.

Murcia levelled four minutes after the break with De Lucas rising highest to power in a header.

The red mist then descended on Guti who was sent off for kicking an opponent and Murcia almost won it late on missing a guilt-edged chance.

Barcelona went into their match with criticism ringing in their ears after former favorite Edmilson, now at Chelsea, said there were several black sheep in the dressing room and that some of his former teammates were slacking in training.

"There have been various things that have not helped us but we just concentrated on playing football," Bojan said.

Milito broke the deadlock with a brilliant header before Bojan showed a touch of class receiving Thierry Henry's pass with a feint before dispatching his shot into the corner.

Messi got the goal he merited late on as Barca showed the home form of champions but six points from a possible 18 away from home is a problem that needs to be solved.

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