Madrid stays top with 3-2 win over Atletico

Madrid stays top with 3-2 win over Atletico

Real Madrid's Xabi Alonso, left celebrates with Alvaro Arbeloa after scoring against Atletico de Madrid during Spanish La Liga soccer derby match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on Sunday. AP

Atletico on Sunday led in the 10th minute when Jose Antonio Reyes curled the ball into the goal.

Xabi Alonso equalised in the 49th before delivering a long pass in the 55th to Alvaro Arbeloa, who capped his solo run by beating goalkeeper David De Gea with a low shot.
Gonzalo Higuain's 23rd goal this season put Madrid 3-1 up in the 62nd before Diego Forlan scored a penalty in the 68th.

Madrid, which hasn't lost to Atletico since 1999, has rallied to win for three straight games at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium after over Sporting Gijon and Sevilla.

Madrid and Barcelona are both on 74 points but Madrid's goal difference is better by two.
Madrid defender Raul Albiol's mistimed lunge allowed Tiago to find Sergio Aguero, who quickly shifted the ball for Reyes on his favored left foot to beat goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
Atletico kept Cristiano Ronaldo mostly in check but Higuain was dangerous with each touch, although a poor one in the 32nd denied him a clear break.

De Gea got down to stop Marcelo's volley in the 37th before Tiago deflected Higuain's shot from a meter out with the goal open. Higuain's miss was outdone by Ronaldo's to close the half, the Portugal winger heading wide with the goal wide open.
But Madrid pressed hard to start the second half, and Alonso volleyed home Albiol's headed pass at the far post to level.

Arbeloa then showed a sublime touch as he eluded Alvaro Dominguez with some impressive moves before scoring with a low shot.

Madrid looked unstoppable as Higuain's header hit the cross in the 60th. Soon after, he pounced on a lazy clearance by Atletico to beat De Gea.

Alonso handled the ball inside his own area in the 67th for Atletico's spot kick, and Forlan sent Casillas the wrong way for his 15th goal of the season. Atletico is 10th with 37 points.

Earlier, Sevilla lost 3-0 at Villarreal under new coach Antonio Alvarez to extend its winless run to eight games, while last-place Xerez maintained its hopes of remaining in the Spain's topflight league by beating fellow relegation battler Valladolid 3-0.

At El Madrigal stadium, Villarreal was 2-0 up after Giuseppe Rossi poked a bouncing ball past goalkeeper Andres Palop five minutes in and Joseba Llorente headed a cross under Palop 13 minutes later. Robert Pires scored the last goal in injury time.

Alvarez replaced Manolo Jimenez earlier this week after Sevilla was knocked out of the Champions League by CSKA Moscow coupled with its poor domestic run.

Victor Sanchez and Miguel Angel Carrilero paced Xerez with first half goals before Mario Bermejo blasted a penalty past Haris Medunjanin in the 71st, after the Valladolid midfielder replaced goalkeeper Justo Villar, who was sent off for tripping Bermejo to set up the spot kick with no substitutions left for the visitors.

Xerez is seven points behind 17th-place Zaragoza -- a 3-0 winner over Valencia on Saturday -- two points back of Valladolid and three of Tenerife after its second victory in three games.

"We lost a great opportunity against a direct rival, who we've now given a life line," Valladolid coach Onesimo Sanchez said.

Deportivo La Coruna slumped to a third straight defeat with a 3-1 loss to Getafe, with Nicolas "Miku" Ladislao guiding passes from Pedro Leon into goal either side of defender Ze Castro's own-goal in the 32nd. Ivan "Riki" Sanchez scored for Deportivo in the 72nd at El Riazor Stadium.

Also, Walter Pandiani's 20th-minute header gave Osasuna a 1-0 win over Almeria to end a seven-game winless streak and Espanyol and Sporting Gijon drew 0-0.

Valencia stayed third, while Mallorca is in fourth spot -- the last Champions League qualifying place -- and leads Sevilla by two points with nine rounds left. Tenerife rallied to draw 1-1 at Malaga on Saturday.

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