Mon, Apr 20, 2009 - Page 18 News List

LFP : Win helps Real stay in contention


Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, left, attempts an overhead kick as Getafe’s David Cortes challenges during their La Liga match on Saturday at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez stadium in Getafe, Spain.


Real Madrid kept up the pressure on Barcelona in the Spanish title race, defeating Recreativo Huelva 1-0 on Saturday to stay six points behind their arch rivals.

Marcelo scored three minutes into the second half to sink Recre as Real made it 15 wins from 17 league matches under coach Juande Ramos.

The problem for Real is Barcelona are also winning week-in, week-out and triumphed 1-0 at Getafe on Saturday thanks to Lionel Messi’s 20th goal of the season.

Messi netted on 19 minutes to seal Barcelona’s first win at bogey side Getafe since 2005 and the victory means Pep Guardiola’s side have now defeated every team in the top-flight this season.

Real lost 2-0 at Barcelona in mid-December to fall 12 points behind, but have dropped just two points this year to close the gap to six and the two sides meet at the beginning of next month in El Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Real almost scored in the ninth minute with Arjen Robben showing a great turn of pace to race past several Recre players but goalkeeper Asier Riesgo was on hand to stop his shot.

Raul hit the post in the first half but Marcelo found the net racing onto Fernando Gago’s diagonal ball before slotting home just after half-time.

Barcelona had lost their last two visits to Getafe but Messi’s goal, coupled with a sixth consecutive cleansheet for Victor Valdes, brought that sequence to an end.

After just five minutes Thierry Henry should have put Barcelona in front but Serbian goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic produced a brilliant save to deny him.

Barcelona were on top and the goal arrived in the 19th minute with Messi showing great control to gather a Xavi pass and then kept his cool in the area jinking around two defenders before firing home.

Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid climbed above Valencia into fourth with Ever Banega, who is on loan from Valencia, on target in a 3-0 win over lowly Numancia.

In Saturday’s other Primera Liga games Deportivo La Coruna beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0 away while Malaga and Mallorca drew 1-1.

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