Barca win despite two red cards, Real keep pace

MADRID - Leaders Barcelona survived red cards for Gerard Pique and Rafael Marquez to complete a 2-1 victory over Getafe in Liga on Saturday. Real Madrid kept pace with a 3-0 win at home to Espanyol.

By (Reuters)

Published: Sun 7 Feb 2010, 12:01 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:05 AM

Pique was sent off in the 25th minute for a wild challenge on Rafa Lopez. Marquez walked at the end after bundling over Kepa for a last-minute penalty scored by Getafe’s Roberto Soldado.

But the game was effectively over by then. Lionel Messi opened the scoring in the seventh minute and broke away to set up Xavi for the decider in the 67th as Barca continued to create the clearer chances despite a numerical disadvantage.

The unbeaten champions moved on to 55 points from 21 games, and remained five ahead of second-placed Real, who comfortably swept aside Espanyol.

Sergio Ramos headed in from a free-kick early on and Kaka doubled the lead after Carlos Kameni could only parry a Raul header in the 30th minute. Gonzalo Higuain returned from injury to grab a third at the end.

Earlier, Valencia spoiled Onesimo Sanchez’s debut as Real Valladolid coach, winning 2-0 to stay third with 42 points.

Struggling Valladolid, who are 17th, sacked Jose Luis Mendilibar on Monday but the change failed to spark an immediate revival in their fortunes at the Mestalla.

Ever Banega was at the centre of most of Valencia’s best moves and cracked in a fierce drive for the opener after eight minutes.

The Argentine midfielder then crossed for David Villa to head his 15th league goal of the campaign in the 29th. The hosts squandered several more chances after the break.

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