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Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010

Real survives against Sevilla to keep pace

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Angel Di Maria's late goal gave 10-man Real Madrid a 1-0 win over Sevilla to stay two points behind Spanish League leader Barcelona on Sunday.

The Argentina winger threaded a shot from a tight angle on the left flank past goalkeeper Andres Palop in the 76th minute just as a scoreless draw seemed to be the most likely outcome.

Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo caused problems for his former club's defense throughout, and drew two yellow cards from defender Ricardo Carvalho to leave Madrid with 10 men from the 63rd minute.

"We knew it was going to be a difficult game, and after the dismissal (of Carvalho) it was even tougher," said Di Maria, who had scored five goals this season. "It was a good-looking goal, but the important thing is that it gave us the win."

Madrid has won all eight matches this season at Bernabeu stadium, while 11th-place Sevilla has now lost five straight games.

Without forward Frederic Kanoute and wingers Jesus Navas and Diego Perotti due to injury, Sevilla turned to Negredo and Luis Fabiano in attack. Real Madrid had defender Sergio Ramos returning from injury, but Xabi Alonso's absence was noticed in the middle of the pitch.

Madrid threatened early with the speed of Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo's long-distant shots on goal.

Earlier, Tiago scored twice and set up another goal in Atletico Madrid's 3-0 win over Malaga, and Getafe rallied to beat Almeria 3-2.

Atletico's goals were all similar. Tiago scored both from free kicks by Simao Sabrosa and he then assisted on another of Simao's free kicks to set up defender Alvaro Dominguez's goal.

Atletico coach Quique Sanchez Flores left striker Diego Forlan on the bench to reinforce his midfield, a move that paid off in the 22nd when Tiago rose up to head home Simao's curling cross.

Tiago flicked on a free kick for Dominguez to head in Atletico's second in the 66th. Three minutes later, the former Juventus midfielder slid unmarked into the area to again head in another free kick from the Atletico captain to seal the win.

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