Soccer-Real ride luck to beat Getafe and return to top

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MADRID, Sep 30 (Reuters) Champions Real Madrid rode their luck away to Getafe before running out 1-0 winners to return to the top of the Primera Liga today.

Real had never won at the Coliseum in the league and suffered another testing time in the south of the capital as Michael Laudrup's side, who have yet to win a game, did everything except score.

Defender Sergio Ramos scored Real's winner midway through the second half but it was keeper Iker Casillas and the woodwork who Bernd Schuster had to thank for securing the three points.

Real are top with 16 points, one ahead of Villarreal who continued their impressive start to the season with a 1-0 home win over Athletic Bilbao.

Their fifth win in six starts was delivered from the head of Argentine defender Fabricio Fuentes midway through the second half.

Barcelona are third with 14 points after hammering Levante 4-1 with a hat-trick from Thierry Henry yesterday.

Fourth-placed Valencia, with 12 points, visit Recreativo Huelva later today.

Argentine striker Sergio Aguero scored his fifth league goal of the season to help Atletico Madrid beat Osasuna 2-0 at home to stay fifth on 11 points, and Espanyol's 1-0 win at home to Deportivo Coruna put them sixth with 10.

CASILLAS SAVE Netherlands winger Arjen Robben made his first start for Real at Getafe, but it was the home side who dominated possession and made the running as striker Ikechukwu Uche forced Casillas into an early save.

Raul's header was pushed onto the upright soon after, and in the 19th minute Getafe striker Manu del Moral's long-range effort hit the post at the other end.

Nacho's shot was cleared off the Real line just after the re-start and, in the 63rd, Uche lifted the ball over Casillas and into the side-netting in a one-on-one. It proved a costly miss as Real took the lead two minutes later.

Raul's pass put Robben clear, though replays showed he was offside, and he crossed for Ramos to score bravely as he was crunched into the base of the far post by the covering defender.

Real substitute Julio Baptista hit the post near the end but Casillas continued to be the busier keeper and Getafe defender Daniel Diaz crashed a header against the crossbar in the last minute.

Reuters MP VP0215

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