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Real hit five past Mallorca

Madrid:Oct 30, 2012 Reuters

Falcao on target as Atletico stay hot on Barcelonas heels

IN TOp FORM: Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring against Mallorca on Sunday. AFP

 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 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 Real Mallorca.
In-form Colombia 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.

Atletico are second with 25 points from nine games, behind Barca on goal difference, after Tito Vilanova's side thrashed Rayo Vallecano 5-0 away on Saturday when a double from Lionel Messi helped him reach 301 senior career goals.

Europa League winners Atletico last lost a competitive match back in April and 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."

Argentina striker Higuain made the most of a defensive error to volley Real 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 counter-attacks 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. Malaga are third on 18 points after a 0-0 draw at Espanyol on Saturday and Real Betis sit fifth on 16 points thanks to their 1-0 win at home to Valencia.

Levante are sixth on goal difference after Nigeria striker Obafemi Martins celebrated his 28th birthday in style with a double in a 3-1 victory over Granada. Martins created both his goals by robbing the ball off defenders and helped maintain Levante's unbeaten home record.

Inconsistent Sevilla slipped down to seventh with 14 points after losing 2-1 at Real Zaragoza to 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 King's Cup and Europa League finals, as they slumped 2-1 at home to Getafe.


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

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


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