Friday, March 24, 2006

Real salvages draw with Zaragoza

The strike by Ronaldo, making his first league start since club president Florentino Perez resigned on Feb. 27, tied it with a 48th-minute goal by Diego Milito, the Argentine's 14th of the season.

Madrid's draw appeared to deal a mortal blow to its faint hope of catching leader FC Barcelona, which it trails by 13 points with nine games remaining.

Osasuna replaced Madrid in second position with a 2-0 victory over lowly Real Sociedad, while Valencia dropped to fourth by drawing 1-1 with regional rival Villarreal.

Barcelona, which beat Getafe 3-1 on Tuesday, leads the league with 67 points. Osasuna has 55, Madrid 54 and Valencia 53.

Other 29th-round results were: Mallorca 1 Cadiz 0, Athletic Bilbao 1 Espanyol 1, Deportivo La Coruna 2 Malaga 1, Real Betis 1 Racing Santander 0, and Alaves 1 Celta Vigo 0.

On Thursday, Atletico Madrid hosts Sevilla.

Ronaldo's goal prevented Zaragoza's second victory over Madrid at La Romareda stadium in six weeks. Zaragoza humiliated Madrid 6-1 in the Copa del Rey semifinals and eventually won 6-5 on aggregate.

The Brazilian was joined in Madrid's starting lineup by David Beckham, who was omitted in last Sunday's 0-0 draw with Real Betis.

Milito, who scored four goals against Madrid last month, broke the deadlock by running in to steer home Ewerthon's low cross.

Lopez Caro responded by bringing on Zinedine Zidane and Raul Gonzalez in the 68th minute but Madrid didn't begin to rally until Beckham hit the bar 20 minutes later.

The visitors equalized two minutes into injury time after Zaragoza goalkeeper Cesar Sanchez dropped the ball, allowing Ronaldo to fire home.

Osasuna midfielder Inaki Munoz opened the scoring against Real Sociedad at El Reyno de Navarra stadium with a sixth-minute volley, with captain Patxi Punal sealing the team's club record 17th win of the season on a last-minute penalty.

Valencia dominated Villarreal at Mestalla stadium until the 44th-minute ejection of its forward Miguel Angel Angulo after receiving a second yellow card.

Midfielder Ruben Baraja gave Valencia the lead six minutes earlier with a long-range curling free kick.

Villarreal then made the most of its numerical advantage and Diego Forlan netted from close range to equalize in the 70th, with Juan Roman Riquelme spurning a golden chance to win the game 13 minutes later when his penalty was saved by Santiago Canizares.

Valencia's Argentine forward Pablo Aimar was carried off on a stretcher just before time with what appeared to be a serious injury.

Mallorca forward Victor Casadesus' 16th-minute goal proved enough to beat struggling Cadiz and extend the team's unbeaten run to six games since coach Gregorio Manzano took charge.

Fran Yeste's strike deep into injury time earned Bilbao a 1-1 draw with Copa del Rey finalist Espanyol which boosted the team's hope of avoiding a first relegation in its history.

Juanfran Torres scored for Espanyol in the 39th minute, four minutes after Bilbao striker Aritz Aduriz missed a 35th-minute penalty.

Victor Sanchez scored from two second-half free kicks to bring Deportivo its first victory in seven home games and leave last-place Malaga winless in seven games.

Sergio (Duda) Barbosa's 36th-minute deflected shot opened the scoring for Malaga, for which Juan Rodriguez and Alexis Ruano were ejected in injury time.

Betis rose from the relegation zone by beating Santander, only its second win in the last seven matches.

Santander defender Pablo Pinillos was ejected in the 29th minute, with forward Edu Schmidt scoring the winner nine minutes later.

Alaves also moved out of the bottom three with a hard-earned victory over Celta, courtesy of an 86th-minute penalty by John Aloisi.


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