Madrid keep Barca at arm's length15/04/2012 - 11:33:47
Real Madrid maintained their four-point lead over Barcelona in the Primera Division title race as both sealed hard-fought victories last night.
Madrid scored twice in the final 15 minutes as they came from behind to beat Sporting Gijon 3-1.
The visitors went into a shock lead after half an hour when Miguel de Las Cuevas scored from the penalty spot after Sergio Ramos had ended a wonderful run by Oscar Trejo by handling inside the area.
Gonzalo Higuain levelled seven minutes later with a free header and Cristiano Ronaldo finally made all Real's pressure count 15 minutes from full-time when he powered home Angel di Maria's cross to score a record-breaking 41st goal of the campaign.
Roberto Canella was then sent off for the visitors for a second bookable offence and the hosts wrapped up all three points when Mesut Ozil's exquisite through-ball was slotted home by Karim Benzema.
Barcelona were also forced to work hard before Lionel Messi's second-half double earned them a 2-1 victory at Levante.
Jose Barkero gave Levante the lead with a 23rd-minute penalty and Barca appeared to be making heavy weather of getting back on terms.
But Messi burst into life with two goals in nine minutes, the second a spot-kick of his own that pulled him level with Ronaldo on 41 league goals for the season, to turn the game around.
The win means Barca remain well in touch with the leaders ahead of the second Clasico encounter of the season at the Nou Camp next weekend.