Van Nistelrooy keeps Real Madrid in Liga title race
May 7, 2007 - 11:36:52 AM

Madrid, May 7 - Real Madrid came from behind to beat Sevilla 3-2 in a stormy clash, with two goals from new league scoring leader Ruud Van Nistelrooy in the Primera Liga football tournament.

The never-say-die win keeps Real just two points behind leaders Barcelona, who won 2-0 Saturday at relegation certainties Real Sociedad.

Barca have 65 points from 33 games, just two more than Real. Sevilla slip down to third with 61, two more than fourth-placed Valencia, who won 2-1 Saturday at Deportivo Coruna.

'It was absolutely crucial, that win tonight and we showed a lot of character in doing so,' said Van Nistelrooy after the match Sunday.

The Dutchman's two goals take him to the top of the scorers' chart with 20 goals, one ahead of Sevilla's Frederic Kanoute and Zaragoza's Diego Milito.

Enzo Maresca had given Sevilla the lead just before halftime with a spectacular, left-foot volley.

The second half was action-packed. On the hour, Real coach Fabio Capello brought on playmaker Guti, and he immediately set up Van Nistelrooy to make it 1-1.

Daniel Alves twice came close to restoring Sevilla's lead before Guti set up Robinho to make it 2-1 in the 79th minute.

Robinho celebrated by pulling off his shirt - and was rewarded with a second yellow card. Both teams were soon down to 10 men as Sevilla defender Aitor Ocio was then harshly sent off.

With Sevilla looking weary after their UEFA Cup exertions, Van Nistelrooy made it 3-1 by heading in from close range after keeper Andres Palop had fumbled a centre from Sergio Ramos.

Sevilla sub Ernesto Chevanton made it 3-2 in injury time with a classy free-kick, but the visitors had run out of time.

Earlier Sunday, Zaragoza was held 0-0 at home by Racing Santander, a result that keeps them in fifth place with 55 points, four behind Valencia.

Atletico Madrid failed to take advantage of Zaragoza's slip, losing 2-1 at UEFA Cup finalists Espanyol.

Sunday brought little change at the bottom of the table, with bottom side Gimnastic Tarragona losing 2-0 to Levante.

Tarragona and Sociedad are virtually doomed. Third from bottom now are Hristo Stoichkov's Celta Vigo, 1-0 losers at Villarreal.

Celta are now three points behind Levante and Athletic Bilbao, who battled out a 0-0 draw in Huelva.

Betis are back in trouble. They are now just two points ahead of Bilbao and Levante, after crashing 2-0 at home to Getafe.

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