Real Madrid steer seven points clear of Barcelona
Madrid, Jan 29 - Real Madrid have opened up a seven point lead at the top of the Spanish Primera Liga thanks to a comfortable 3-1 win over Zaragoza at home and coupled with FC Barcelona's failure to win.
Saturday's results mean that Madrid, knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Barca midweek, have a comfortable cushion at the top of the table even though the Catalans have only lost one game this season.
Barcelona were frustrated by a solid defensive display by Villarreal with goalkeeper Diego Lopez making a string of saves. When he missed one 11 minutes from time, the crossbar came to his rescue.
Barca lacked spark in the first half with several players out through injuries, they looked to have paid for their efforts in midweek, reports Xinhua.
Real Madrid were not at their best either. But Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil scored when they came back from a goal down against the side which is at the bottom of the ladder and ended up as comfortable winners.
Zaragoza took a surprise lead after 11 minutes when the Madrid defence went to sleep allowing Carlos Aranda to control a quickly taken free kick and cross for Angel Lafita to slide the ball home.
Madrid's first response was a header from Kaka, which went wide. The Brazilian was guilty of slicing a shot wide soon after when he was unmarked at the edge of the penalty area.
It was third time lucky for the Brazilian, however, as he scored the equaliser after 31 minutes. He collected a through ball and ran into the area to beat Roberto with a low shot.
Four minutes after the restart, Karim Benzema found Ozil out on the right. The midfielder slid the ball over for Ronaldo to slide into an empty net to give Madrid the lead.
After 56 minutes it was Ozil's turn to score as he was put through by Kaka to blast a left-footer past Roberto.
That was virtually the last action of note as Madrid looked to conserve energy against a side that never looked like getting back into the match.
Saturday kicked off with Fernando Llorente scoring his first ever league hat-trick as Athletic Club Bilbao won a thrilling 3-2 away to Rayo Vallecano. Vladimir Weiss' first-half goal gave Espanyol a 1-0 victory at home to Mallorca.(IANS)