Thunderous victory for Madrid over Villareal

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Madrid, Jan 5: Real Madrid gained a thunderous victory over Villarreal 1-0 with help of a spectacular goal by Arjen Robben on Sunday, Jan 4. Robben cut in from the touchline and evaded three Villarreal players as he darted across the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium before sending a curling shot past Villarreal goalkeeper Diego Lopez from the edge of the penalty area in the 32nd minute.

From the time when Juande Ramos replaced Bernd Schuster as coach, Madrid tasted victory in three out of four games so far in 2009. It also saw the Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Lassana Diarra making their debut.

Efe newsagency quoted Ramos saying, "Overall, I think the team is achieving good results and this is the best way to improve and gain confidence in what you are doing. Little by little, people are assimilating things."

Villarreal slipped to seventh position after losing to Real Madrid and managed to get only one victory in its past seven league games. Barcelona leads the league with 44 points, 11 more than Valencia after 17 matches. Madrid and Sevilla follow with 32, while Atletico Madrid and Deportivo have 30.

In Dec Huntelaar joined Madrid from Ajax as a replacement for Ruud van Nistelrooy, who will miss the rest of the season after surgery. Diarra then arrived from Portsmouth to compensate for the loss of Mahamadou Diarra, also sidelined for the season.

Huntelaar wasted a good chance to score his first Madrid goal in the 40th with Lopez diving to smother his shot from close-range. Diarra nearly spoiled an effective debut when his misplaced pass almost allowed Villarreal to equalize in the 53rd but Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas saved substitute Joseba Llorente's goal-bound shot.

During the 56th minute Huntelaar, who has yet to gain full fitness following a recent ankle injury, was replaced by Royston Drenthe. Diarra made way for Rafael van der Vaart in the 79th.

Sevilla made little initial headway against an Osasuna team which has yet to win away this season. Sevilla right winger Jesus Navas made the breakthrough in the 50th minute when he chested down Renato's pass, allowed the ball to bounce and then drove a low volley home from the edge of the area.

However, Osasuna substitute Walter Pandiani deprived the home team of three points when he seized on a loose ball to equalize in injury time.

Sergio Gonzalez's 81st-minute penalty brought Deportivo victory over Getafe in a rugged encounter with 11 yellow cards. Deportivo striker Rodolfo Bodipo fired his team into a seventh-minute lead, with Getafe forward

Manu Del Moral volleying an equaliser nine minutes later.

Almeria coach Hugo Sanchez, formerly in charge of Mexico, enjoyed a successful debut as he led the lowly team to its first win in six games over Betis. Miguel Angel "Corona" Garcia scored the game's only goal in the 36th.

Almeria substitute Kalu Uche was ejected for elbowing in the closing stages, while Betis substitute Sergio Garcia followed him in injury time for a hard tackle. Nikola Zigic made a successful start to his second spell with Santander by scoring his team's winning goal at Valladolid.

The towering Serbia striker, who has joined on loan from Valencia, squeezed the ball home in the 65th and also had another goal disallowed for offside 20 minutes earlier.

Espanyol remains winless in eight games after a draw at Bilbao.

Moises Hurtado gave the visitors' hope of victory with a goal in the 38th, only for Andoni Iraola to equalize in the 82nd. Numancia missed two penalties in its defeat at fellow struggler Recreativo Huelva in the teams' first ever meeting in the top flight.

Jose Javier Barkero and Gorka Brit saw their shots saved by Recreativo goalkeeper Asier Riesgo in the 16th and 53rd minutes, respectively. Recreativo scored through Javi Fuego in the 18th, Javier Camunas in the 46th and Aitor Tornavaca on the hour. Brit scored Numancia's consolation goal in injury time.

Malaga defender Lolo Ortiz's 34th-minute header brought his team victory over Gijon.

OneIndia News (With inputs from Agencies)

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