Real Madrid win at Espanyol despite red card for CasillasBy DPA, IANS
Monday, February 14, 2011
MADRID - Real Madrid are just five points behind Spanish leaders Barcelona after a spirited 1-0 away win away to sixth-placed Espanyol in La Liga.
Jose Mourinhos’s team had to play with 10 men from start to finish Sunday because goalkeeper Iker Casillas was harshly sent off in the second minute. Young reserve Antonio Adan came off the bench and turned in a solid display.
Left-back Marcelo scored the only goal, in the 24th minute.
Real now have 57 points from 23 games, five fewer than Barca, who were surprisingly held 1-1 on Saturday by lowly Sporting Gijon.
Casillas received the first red card of his illustrious career after just two minutes, for an alleged foul just outside the penalty area on Espanyol striker Jose Callejon.
Mourinho took off winger Angel Di Maria and brought on Adan, who looked calmly competent on the few occasions when Espanyol put him to the test.
Marcelo scored the decisive goal with a fierce near-post drive that took Espanyol keeper Carlos Kameni by surprise.
In the second half, Real were content to soak up the pressure and play on the break. Emmanuel Adebayor missed several good chances to finish off Espanyol, who rarely threatened to equalize.
Earlier on Sunday, Villarreal failed to recover third place, crashing 1-0 away to solid Deportivo Coruna.
Their sixth defeat leaves Villarreal fourth with 45 points from 23 games. They are two points behind local rivals Valencia, who took third place on Saturday with a 2-1 win away to troubled Atletico Madrid.
In La Coruna, Villarreal sorely missed star striker Guiseppe Rossi, who did not make the trip due to flu.
The only goal of a tight game came in the 61st minute, and it was one of coach Miguel Angel Lotina’s trademark set pieces. Antonio Tomas sent over a free-kick, Juan Rodriguez headed the ball across goal - and defender Alberto Lopo made it 1-0 from close range.
The win takes Deportivo up to seventh from bottom, well above the danger zone.
Earlier on Sunday, Malaga did well to battle out a late 2-2 draw at home to Getafe, but stay rock bottom.
Malaga were the highest spending Spanish club during the January transfer window, buying six new players. Sunday’s draw shows that new coach Manuel Pellegrini might just be able to save the southerners.
Miku and Adrian Colunga gave seventh-placed Getafe an early 2-0 lead, to the chagrin of the Roslaeda faithful.
Julio Baptista, Malaga’s most expensive signing, pulled a goal back 10 minutes from time from the penalty spot after handball by Getafe’s Ivan Marcano.
Malaga then laid siege to the Getafe goal, and four minutes into injury-time - with Getafe begging for the final whistle - Jose Rondon made it 2-2 after Sebastian Fernandez had controlled a centre from fellow sub Sandro Silva.
Malaga now have 19 points from 23 games. This is one fewer than Almeria, who lost 1-0 away to Levante on a goal from Felipe Caicedo.
On 22 points are Osasuna, who crashed 1-0 at local rivals Real Sociedad, for whom the ageless Raul Tamudo scored the late winner.
Zaragoza and Sporting Gijon are on 23 points. Zaragoza lost 2-1 at Hercules on Sunday, on late goals from veterans Francisco Farinos and David Trezeguet.