Real top again after comeback win over Atletico

Real Madrid climbed back above Barcelona to the top of La Liga when goals from former Liverpool pair Xabi Alonso and Alvaro Arbeloa helped them to a stirring 3-2 comeback win over Atletico Madrid on Sunday.

Real top again after comeback win over Atletico

Real Madrid’s Alvaro Arbeloa (R) celebrates his goal with his teammates during their Spanish first division match against Atletico Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, March 28, 2010.

A 1-0 victory for Barca at fourth-placed Real Mallorca on Saturday put the champions three clear but Real responded to draw level on 74 points with their arch-rivals and reclaim top spot on goal difference.

Atletico, who have not won a Madrid derby in more than 10 years, led 1-0 at the break thanks to a curled effort from former Real player Jose Antonio Reyes, before Alonso, Arbeloa and Gonzalo Higuain struck to put the hosts 3-1 ahead.

Diego Forlan pulled one back from the penalty spot with just over 20 minutes left after Alonso handled at a corner but Real comfortably held on to claim the three points.

With nine matches remaining, the top two are 21 points ahead of third-placed Valencia and Real host Barca in the potentially decisive “Clasico” in two weeks.

The home fans unfurled an enormous banner shortly before kickoff at the Bernabeu showing a collection of Real ghouls standing menacingly over a young Atletico supporter cowering in bed and the slogan in giant letters: “Your worst nightmare”.

Manolo Jimenez was sacked after Tuesday’s draw with basement side Xerez and Sevilla have now failed to win in eight matches in all competitions, putting their goal of qualifying for next season’s Champions League in jeopardy.

The Andalusians, who stayed fifth on 45 points from 29 matches, two behind fourth-placed Mallorca, were toothless in attack and ragged in defence and fell behind at the Madrigal in only the fifth minute.

Nilmar raced clear on the left and Giuseppe Rossi lost his marker and swept the Brazil striker’s cross past goalkeeper Andres Palop into the net.

Nilmar chalked up another assist 13 minutes later, sending over a deep cross from the right which Joseba Llorente nodded in from a tight angle.

Sevilla, who play Atletico Madrid in May’s King’s Cup final, put up more of a fight in the second half but failed to score and substitute Robert Pires netted a third for the hosts in added time.

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