Monday, 24 December 2007

Real Madrid moved seven points

Real Madrid moved seven points clear of Barcelona heading into the La Liga winter break after winning Sunday's 'El Clasico' 1-0 at the Camp Nou.

Julio Baptista's 36th minute strike when he found the net with a superb rising half-volley from 20 yards settled a tense derby where chances were at a premium.

The result increases the pressure on Barca coach Frank Rijkaard, who named Thierry Henry on the bench after his recent back problems but overlooked the France striker in favour of Bojan when chasing the game in the second half.

Elsewhere, Espanyol moved to within one point of their city rivals after winning 2-1 at Atletico Madrid.

Raul Tamudo equalised Simao Sabrosa's opener for Atletico, before Luis Garcia sealed the win five minutes from full-time.

Espanyol leapfrogged Villarreal up to third after they were held to a 1-1 draw by improving Recreativo Huelva.

Real Mallorca were soundly beaten 3-1 at Osasuna as their recent poor form continued.

Meanwhile, second bottom Deportivo La Coruna moved ten points clear of beleaguered Levante after winning 1-0 at their relegation rivals.

Sergio Gonzalez 85th minute penalty sealed a vital three points for Miguel Angel Lotina's side.

In Sunday's late game, Athletic Bilbao and Murcia fought out an entertaining 1-1 draw at San Mames.

Inter - Milan 2 - 1

Milan were beaten 2-1 in the derby against Inter. After Pirlo had given the Rossoneri the lead in the 18th minute on a splendid free kick, Cruz found an equaliser shortly before the half-time break in the 36th minute. Cambiasso's 63rd minute strike sealed the victory for Roberto Mancini's men.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Messi to miss Real Madrid clash

Barcelona midfielder Lionel Messi will miss his team's showdown with league-leaders Real Madrid on Sunday after tearing a thigh muscle in his left leg during Barca's 3-0 win over Valencia on Saturday.

Messi was substituted shortly before halftime after sustaining the injury. He helped set up two first-half goals from Samuel Eto'o in the win, but now is expected to be out for up to five weeks with the injury.

Barca trails Madrid by four points heading into their massive showdown on Sunday at the Nou Camp, but Messi's absence will be huge blow to the Catalan side.

The Argentina international leads Barca with eight goals in league play this season, while his creativity has helped set up numerous others. Manager Frank Rijkaard will still be able to lean on players like Ronaldinho, Deco and Andres Iniesta to fill the void left by Messi, but the Barca attack will not be the same without its dynamic young playmaker.