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No change at top for Real and Barca

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By David Redshaw

Sunday 15 April 2012

Real Madrid and Barcelona both won their respective games on Saturday to preserve the four point gap before next week’s El Clasico at the Camp Nou.

Real were first up at the Santiago Bernabeu and found themselves behind after half an hour to relegation strugglers Sporting Gijon, Miguel De las Cuevas scoring from the penalty spot after Sergio Ramos had handled. Gonzalo Higuain drew the hosts level seven minutes later when he got behind the defence to head home at the far post, yet it was not until the 74th minute that Jose Mourinho’s men got their noses in front, with Cristiano Ronaldo heading Angel Di Maria’s cross in off a post past Juan Pablo.

Four minutes later the visitors had Roberto Canella dismissed for a second bookable offence and Los Blancos made them pay nine minutes from time, Karim Benzema making it 3-1after running on to Mesut Ozil’s pass to strike an angled shot past the keeper.

Barcelona also had to come from behind to record a hard earned 2-1 victory at fifth-placed Levante, who took the lead on 23 minutes courtesy of a Jose Barkero penalty following a Sergio Busquets handball inside the area. However, it took two second-half goals from Lionel Messi to secure victory for Barca, the Argentine opening his account for the night on 64 minutes with a wonderfully curled shot to beat Gustavo Munua after collecting Alexis Sanchez’ pass.

Messi sealed the points for the Catalans eight minutes later from the penalty spot to ensure what should be a thrilling run-in to the title, Pedro Botelho harshly adjudged to have fouled Isaac Cuenca inside the box.

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