Skip to main content

Ten-man Real Madrid close gap on frustrated Barcelona

Real Madrid's two-goal hero Gonzalo Higuain celebrates after scoring against Getafe.
Real Madrid's two-goal hero Gonzalo Higuain celebrates after scoring against Getafe.
  • Real Madrid reduce Barcelona's Spanish league lead to one point after winning 2-0 at home to Getafe
  • Gonzalo Higuain's double relieves pressure on coach Manuel Pellegrini after Raul AAlbiolis sent off
  • Barcelona drop points for only the second time this season after drawing 1-1 at Osasuna
  • Gerard Pique's late own-goal cancels out in-form Seydou Keita's 72nd-minute opener for visitors

(CNN) -- Real Madrid reduced Barcelona's league lead to one point after returning to winning ways with a 2-0 victory against Getafe on Saturday night despite having a man sent off.

Barcelona dropped points for only the second time this season as the defending champions were held 1-1 at Osasuna, with Gerard Pique conceding a late own-goal.

Real went into the match at home to mid-table Getafe with coach Manuel Pellegrini's future in doubt following the embarrassing Spanish Cup defeat to third-flight minnows Alcorcon.

Another upset seemed possible when Madrid center-back Raul Albiol was shown a straight red card in the 27th minute after sending Roberto Soldado tumbling as the two tussled for a long ball.

But the home side dug deep, with Karim Benzema and Lassana Diarra going close to opening the scoring before Gonzalo Higuain broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute when he controlled Marcelo's cross-field pass on his chest and smashed a left-footed shot into the near top corner of the net.

The Argentina international made it 2-0 just two minutes later, firing a low shot past goalkeeper Oscar Ustari after Diarra stole possession near the halfway line and Benzema set up the chance.

Higuain almost completed a hat-trick soon after when he broke clear from his own half before drilling a low shot against the far post.

The result was a big boost for Real and Pellegrini ahead of Tuesday's Champions League trip to AC Milan, with star forward Cristiano Ronaldo unlikely to return from an ankle injury.

European titleholders Barcelona, meanwhile, will be looking to bounce back on Wednesday when they travel to Russian champions Rubin Kazan, who beat them at the Nou Camp two weeks ago.

Pep Guardiola's team had seemed set for an eighth victory in nine league games at Osasuna after in-form midfielder Seydou Keita followed up his hat-trick from last weekend's 6-1 thrashing of Zaragoza with the opening goal in the 72nd minute, firing in from fullback Carles Puyol's cross.

Osasuna goalkeeper Ricardo then did well to deny Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Lionel Messi before Pique beat his own keeper deep into injury-time as he tried to clear the danger after Rafael Marquez error had let in Javier Camunas.

Sevilla retained third place, three points adrift of Real, after winning 2-0 at second-bottom Xerez.

Former Real striker Alvaro Negredo netted the opener three minutes before halftime and Brazil forward Luis Fabiano sealed victory in the 89th minute.

Athletic Bilbao hosted Atletico Madrid in the late match.