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Real defeat Atletico in Madrid derby

Xabi Alonso (right) is congratulated after scoring Real Madrid's equalizing goal in the 3-1 victory over rivals Atletico.
Xabi Alonso (right) is congratulated after scoring Real Madrid's equalizing goal in the 3-1 victory over rivals Atletico.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Real Madrid recover from going a goal behind to defeat rivals Atletico 3-2
  • The victory extends Real's winning run in the Primera Liga to 11 matches
  • The result sees Real return to the top of the Spanish table on goal difference
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(CNN) -- Real Madrid recovered from going a goal behind to beat rivals Atletico Madrid 3-2 on Sunday to return to the top of the Spanish Primera Liga ahead of Barcelona.

But they did not have things their own way at the Bernabeu and went into the interval trailing after a flowing Atletico move saw the ball reach former Real striker Jose Antonio Reyes, who curled home a delightful shot to give the visitors the lead.

But Real were a different side after the break and levelled in the 49th minute when Xabi Alonso netted from close range.

And six minutes later, the home side were ahead when defender Alvaro Arbeloa -- who like Alonso moved to Madrid from Liverpool last pre-season -- superbly cut inside his marker before stroking the ball home.

Madrid made it 3-1 in the 62nd minute when top scorer Gonzalo Higuain took advantage of a defensive mix-up to fire home.

However, the scoring was still not over and Alonso turned from hero to villain when handling the ball in the area, with Diego Forlan slotting home the resulting penalty.

Forlan missed a golden chance to level in the final minute when firing into the side-netting, but Real Madrid held on to move ahead of Barcelona, who scraped a narrow 1-0 victory at Mallorca on Saturday, on goal difference.

The victory was Real's 11th in succession and continued their recent domination over their city rivals, with Atletico not winning a derby match since 1999.

In other matches, Sevilla's recent poor run of form continued with a 3-0 defeat at Villarreal, for whom veteran Frenchman Robert Pires came off the substitutes' bench to score a superb third goal.

Struggling Xerez thumped Valladolid 3-0 in a battle of the bottom two clubs, while Deportivo La Coruna's Champions League hopes took a knock after they slumped 3-1 at home to Getafe.