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Barça and Madrid made to work as el clásico looms: La Liga Round-Up and Highlights
- Updated: 15 April, 2012
AFP PHOTO/ JOSE JORDAN
Spain’s big two both came from behind to win difficult games on Saturday night, ensuring a mouth-watering el clásico at the Camp Nou next weekend.
Real Madrid were pushed all the way by relegation favourites Sporting Gijon as Javier Clemente’s side frustrated the hosts with some stoic defensive play at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Tensions were high in the capital as Jose Mourinho’s men looked to put some breathing space between themselves and Barcelona, and things took a turn for the worse when Miguel de las Cuevas stepped up to fire a 30 minute penalty past Iker Casillas to give the Asturian side the lead.
Madrid bounced back soon after however, as Gonzalo Higuain headed a Serio Ramos cross past Juan Pablo in the Sporting goal.
The second half saw constant pressure from Mourinho’s men but they were left increasingly frustrated by the visitors well-organised back line. The breakthrough finally came however, when Cristiano Ronaldo rose first to a Angel di Maria ball to bag his 41st league goal of the season.
Sporting were reduced to ten men with 12 minutes remaining as Roberto Canalla was shown a second yellow card, and Karim Benzema rounded off the scoring minutes later to give Madrid their 27th la liga win this season.
Barcelona went in to their game at Champions League-chasing Levante knowing nothing but a win with suffice, although things began badly for Pep Guardiola’s side as they fell behind to a Jose Barkero penalty mid way through the first half.
Juan Ignacio Martinez’s side held the lead until just past the hour mark, when Lionel Messi finally broke the home side’s resolve after Barça had begun to dominate the encounter.
The Argentine picked the ball up on the edge of the area before finding space to place a beautiful effort beyond the reach of goalkeeper, Gustavo Munua. Messi won the game for the Catalans when he calmed converted a 72nd minute penalty after Isaac Cuenca was adjudged to have been could by Pedro Botelho. The home side were furious at the decision and Juanfran was shown a yellow card for remonstrating with referee, Fernando Texeira.
Barcelona remain four points behind Real Madrid as the two sides prepare to meet in next Saturdays encounter at the Camp Nou.
REAL MADRID 3-1 SPORTING
LEVANTE 1-2 BARCELONA
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