Barcelona win with 10 men, stay level with Real


Madrid : Barcelona stayed level with Real Madrid at the top of the Spanish Liga after both clubs scored victories in their respective matches.

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Barca came through a difficult 1-0 home win over Getafe despite having Ronaldinho sent off for retaliation just before half time Saturday. The tight win leaves Barca level with Real on 72 points after 36 games. Barca have a superior goal difference but Real are officially top due to the Spanish direct results system, having taken four points off Barca this season.

This means that Real will be champions for the 30th time if they manage to win their last two games, away to Zaragoza and at home to Mallorca.

Real beat Deportivo Coruna 3-1 earlier Saturday with goals from Sergio Ramos, Raul Gonzalez and top scorer Ruud Van Nistelrooy.

The only goal in the Camp Nou came after just two minutes. Samuel Eto'o skipped through the Getafe defence and, instead of shooting himself, centred unselfishly for Ronaldinho to score from close range.

In the 42nd minute Ronaldinho was given a direct red card for kicking David Belenguer in retaliation after being fouled.

Despite playing with 10 men, Barca continued to dominate and should have finished Getafe off at the start of the second half.

The visitors finally came out of their shell towards the end and – with all Real Madrid fans cheering them on – Valentin Pachon twice came close to an equalizer.

"Things were a bit tense at the end," said Barca assistant coach Johan Neeskens. "But the important thing is that we won and are still in the title race."

The star of the show at the Bernabeu was David Beckham, celebrating his England recall by setting up two goals for Real and hitting the Deportivo post.

Real have won nine of their last ten games.

In Saturday's first match, Valencia surprisingly lost 2-3 at home to Villarreal, leaving them out of the title race, seven points behind Real and Barca in fourth place.

Their sixth successive win takes Villarreal up to sixth, their highest position all season.