Goals from Brazilian starlet
Robinho and Raul Bravo saw Real Madrid bounce back from their midweek Spanish
Cup humiliation in Zaragoza to record a 2-0 away success in Bilbao which keeps
their league title dreams alive.
Robinho fired Real ahead in the fifth minute with a deft left-foot finish after
French maestro Zinedine Zidane played him through the inside left channel with a
perfectly-weighted flicked pass.
Zidane, rested from the starting line-up for the Zaragoza shambles, was at the
fulcrum of many of Real's early probing moves and the early goal settled the
nine-times European champions, although Bilbao, fighting against the drop -- a
fate they have never suffered -- forced a succession of corners.
England defender Jonathan Woodgate, also returning to the starting eleven,
looked confident at the back and had time to make some forays into the Bilbao
penalty area as the visitors shrugged off their 6-1 Cup nightmare, although the
second leg is still to come.
Facing the prospect of a third straight season without a trophy with the Cup
seemingly beyond them and reigning champions Barcelona riding high in the league
once again, Real showed a real sense of purpose as they chased their seventh
away league win of the season.
And Raul Bravo's last-minute close range finish secured the points which took
Real back into second place a point clear of 2004 champions Valencia with 45
points from 23 games.
However, if Valencia can hand Barca a second straight defeat after last week's
shock reverse to Atletico Madrid they will leapfrog the meringues once more.
The Catalan club still have a nine-point cushion but Valencia are unbeaten in 11
Elsewhere Saturday, former Spurs striker Freddy Kanoute and ex Barcelona hotshot
Javier Saviola reignited Sevilla's hopes of gatecrashing next season's Champions
League party with a goal apiece in a 4-0 destruction of Cadiz.
Argentine Saviola hit 44 league goals in three seasons with Barca but that
earned him only a stopoff last term at Monaco and this season has seen injuries
put spokes in his wheel.
"I'm the first person who wants to improve. I have to start scoring goals," he
said ahead of the trip down to the southwestern corner of Cadiz.
And after five minutes, he was as good as his word, sliding home a right-foot
shot for the opener against opponents standing perched just above the drop zone.
Sevilla took the foot off the accelerator thereafter until Antonio Puerta nodded
home a second with 19 minutes remaining before a diving header from Kepa Blanco
Gonzalez made the outcome safe, allowing Kanoute's low prod on the run to put
the icing on the cake and send his side into the top five.
Sevilla have 38 points from 23 games, five less than Osasuna, who could only
draw 1-1 at home with Real Zaragoza.
Savo Milosevic headed Osasuna into a third-minute lead but Argentine midfielder
Leonardo Ponzio swirled home a delightful freekick four minutes before the
interval to leave things all square.
Zaragoza's draw left them ninth as they failed to show the burning desire that
sent Real packing in the Cup.