BBVA: Atletico keep pace with Barca, Real rout Mallorca

Reuters, MADRID

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 - Page 18

Radamel Falcao scored his 10th league goal of the season to help Atletico Madrid stay neck-and-neck with Barcelona at the top of La Liga with a 3-1 victory at home to basement side CA Osasuna on Sunday.

Champions Real Madrid lie eight points back in fourth place after Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo both scored a brace in Palma to secure a 5-0 victory over RCD Mallorca.

In-form Colombia international striker Falcao pulled away from his marker and volleyed Atletico’s third high into the net after 73 minutes, sealing an eighth straight league victory for Diego Simeone’s side.

Europa League winners Atletico last lost a competitive match back in April and they continued their impressive start to the campaign when Miranda headed in from a free-kick and Raul Garcia pounced on a loose ball to put them 2-0 up in the first half.

Osasuna pulled one back just before halftime, but Atletico always looked more dangerous and Falcao lashed home Juanfran’s cross to score in his 11th consecutive match for club and country.

“When it is near the end of the season, that will be the time to see where we are in the table,” Atletico defender Miranda told reporters.

“Then we’ll know if we have a chance for the title or if we can make it into the Champions League,” he said.

Argentina international striker Higuain made the most of a defensive error to volley Real Madrid in front after only seven minutes and as Jose Mourinho’s side pressured the hosts into further mistakes, Higuain laid the ball off for Ronaldo to grab the second.

Two trademark quick counterattacks buried toothless Mallorca in the second half, the first finished off by Higuain and the second by Ronaldo, who notched his 11th league goal of the season.

Substitute Jose Callejon grabbed Real’s fifth at the end.

Levante UD are sixth on goal-difference after Nigeria international striker Obafemi Martins celebrated his 28th birthday in style with a brace in a 3-1 victory over Granada.

Martins created both his goals by robbing defenders of the ball, helping to maintain Levante’s unbeaten home record.

Inconsistent Sevilla slipped to seventh with 14 points after losing 2-1 at Real Zaragoza after first-half strikes from Helder Postiga and Ionut Sapunaru.

Marcelo Bielsa’s Athletic Bilbao are still struggling to get anywhere near the heights they hit last season, when they reached the Copa del Rey and UEFA Europa League finals, as they slumped 2-1 at home to Getafe.

Juan Rodriguez headed the visitors in front and a spectacular overhead-kick by Alvaro Vazquez sealed the points in the 58th minute.

Bilbao substitute Fernando Llorente, who said he wanted to leave the club back in the summer, headed against the crossbar before Mikel San Jose finally pulled one back with the last kick of the game.