Goals by striker Gonzalo Higuain and Dutch winger Arjen Robben helped beleaguered Real Madrid rally from a goal down at half-ftime to a 3-1 victory over Osasuna in the Spanish league on Sunday.
Madrid’s Sergio Ramos canceled out Javad Nekounam’s first-half strike for Osasuna, before Higuain and Robben led the Spanish champion to their fourth straight win, two days after president Ramon Calderon resigned after being linked to a vote-rigging scandal.
“The team has been through a lot this week because of that happened, but it also knew how to overcome. I hope we can continue picking up wins and finish the season confidently,” new president Vicente Boluda said.
Last-place Osasuna led through Iran midfielder Nekounam, who got over Fabio Cannavaro and headed Jaroslav Plasil’s looping cross into the far corner in the 20th. Goalkeeper Roberto Fernandez mishandled Ramos’ long shot in the 50th to allow Madrid to begin its rally.
Higuain tapped in Robben’s cross in the 64th minute and the Dutchman added Real’s third goal in injury time.
Osasuna’s Juanfran Torres was sent off in the 83rd after a second booking for protesting even though he appeared to deserve a penalty after being tripped inside the area.
“Madrid isn’t playing so well but is still picking up good results and those results provide confidence and confidence allows you to play much better,” Madrid coach Juande Ramos said.
Barcelona beat Deportivo La Coruna 5-0 on Saturday to become the first team to reach 50 points at the halfway point of the season.
Fernando Llorente converted a 90th-minute penalty as Athletic Bilbao rallied for a 3-2 win over Valencia on Sunday.
David Villa put Valencia ahead two minutes in, but Igor Gabilondo headed an equalizer in the 18th at the San Mames.
Fernando Morientes restored Valencia’s lead in the 30th minute, only for Javi Martinez to level in the 42nd, moments after Valencia goalkeeper Renan Brito Soares limped off with a leg injury.
Meanwhile, Almeria held on for the final 35 minutes with 10 men to draw 1-1 against Atletico Madrid.
In a scrappy match at the Juegos Mediterraneos stadium, Atletico’s slack defense allowed Kalu Uche to move in and slot in his own rebound in the sixth.
Florent Sinama-Pongolle equalized with a header in the 22nd while Diego Forlan threatened before the close of the half.
Almeria defender Hernan Pellerano was ejected in the 54th minute and Atletico’s Pablo Ibanez headed off the crossbar from the ensuing set piece.
Atletico were reduced to 10 men for injury time after Ever Banega picked up a second yellow card in the 90th. Nine yellow cards were shown in all.
At El Madrigal, Villarreal snapped a six-game winless streak and picked up their first victory in all competitions since Nov. 30.
Joan Capdevila headed Miguel Ibagaza’s corner home in the 29th and Giuseppe Rossi scored his eighth from the penalty spot five minutes later to leave Mallorca winless in 12.
Antonio Galdeano and Nabil Baha scored penalties while Adrian Lopez and Albert Luque also scored as Malaga moved into a UEFA Cup place, while 18th-placed Espanyol’s winless streak was stretched to 10 after their 2-2 draw.
Huelva moved five points clear of the drop zone thanks to an early own-goal by Jorge Garcia and Adrian Colunga’s strike in the 55th.
At Valladolid, Sergio Garcia scored two second half goals to lead Betis, who snapped a six-match winless run.