Ronaldo scored his 100th
goal but Real Madrid's 1-1 draw with lowly Real Sociedad on Saturday
virtually snuffed out its hopes of catching Spanish league leader FC
Ronaldo, playing his 164th game in all competitions since joining Real
from Inter Milan in 2002, volleyed in Zinedine Zidane's low free kick in
the 26th minute at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Sociedad equalized through
Mark Gonzalez in the 62nd to leave Madrid 10 points adrift of Barcelona,
which visits Racing Santander on Sunday,
Barcelona now needs only nine points from its remaining seven games to
ensure it retains its title.
Madrid, which last won a major trophy in 2003, was replaced in second
position by Valencia, which edged Celta Vigo 1-0 courtesy of Miguel
Angel Angulo's goal.
Midfielder Jose Maria (Guti) Gutierrez added to Madrid's difficulties in
the 86th minute by insulting the referee and receiving a red card.
"We didn't expect this game. We had been making good progress in terms
of our play, discipline and attitude," Madrid coach Juan Ramon Lopez
Caro was quoted as saying by news agency Efe. "The team tried hard to
reach our opponent's goal and win the match but we failed."
Following discussions with Madrid president Fernando Martin after the
game, Lopez Caro cancelled an arrangement for the players to have two
and 1/2 days off this week. He scheduled training sessions instead, Efe
In other 32nd-round games, Getafe won 2-1 at last-place Malaga,
while another struggler, Cadiz, drew 1-1 with Real Betis.
FC Barcelona leads the league with 69 points, followed by Valencia and
Madrid with 59. Osasuna has 55 points, four more than Sevilla and Celta.
Also on Sunday, it's: Villarreal vs. Deportivo La Coruna; Espanyol vs.
Atletico Madrid; Athletic Bilbao vs. Mallorca; Alaves vs. Osasuna; and
Sevilla vs. Zaragoza.
Madrid, without injured David Beckham and suspended Roberto Carlos,
struggled as a lively Gonzalez fired several shots before Ronaldo scored
his fourth goal in as many games.
The Brazilian limped off the field to applause in the 57th minute. In
February, Ronaldo said he was considering leaving because he was tired
of criticism from Madrid fans at games.
Five minutes later, Gonzalez took advantage of a mistake by goalkeeper
Iker Casillas, who pushed the ball into his path.
Sociedad, which is threatened with a return to the second division after
39 years, stayed 18th with 32 points.
Valencia scored the only goal of the game at Celta's Balaidos stadium on
the half hour when Angulo fired home from just outside the area after
the ball was laid into his path by Mario Regueiro.
Valencia's victory boosted its chances of a second-place finish which
would secure a berth in the group stages of next season's Champions
Getafe striker Veljko Paunovic added to Malaga's relegation worries by
scoring both goals in his side's victory.
Paunovic's deflected drive opened the scoring at Malaga's La Rosaleda
stadium in the 19th minute, although substitute Pablo Counago equalized
early in the second half with an angled shot.
After Malaga had defender Fernando Sanz ejected for a foul in the 85th,
Paunovic fired Getafe's winning goal in injury time to leave Malaga
winless in 10 matches and nine points from safety.
Getafe, which has won three straight matches, rose to ninth place with
46 points. Malaga, which last played in the second division in 1999, has
Cadiz took a 69th-minute lead through Lucas Lobos' penalty, with
visiting Betis levelling just before the final whistle through a
glancing header by Spain winger Joaquin Sanchez.
Cadiz stayed 19th in the 20-team standings with 28 points, while Betis
remained 12th with 37.