La Liga: Real make thrilling win

Brazilian international Robinho played as the next Pele with a mesmerising display as Real Madrid downed Real Mallorca 4-3 to stay top of La Liga.

updated: November 13, 2007 18:58 IST
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Brazilian international Robinho showed why some observers tout him as the next Pele with a mesmerising display, including two goals, as Real Madrid downed Real Mallorca 4-3 to stay top of La Liga.

Robinho, who at 23 is starting to fulfill his enormous potential, was the star of the show for Real, also setting up another goal for captain Raul.

"Robinho is in great form at the moment and he has maintained a very high level for several matches now," said Real coach Bernd Schuster.

"That is what we expect of him.

"At Real Madrid we need players such as Robinho, Raul, Ruud (van Nistelrooy) and (Wesley) Sneijder to create problems for the opposition."

Dutch international van Nistelrooy scored the 73rd minute winner for Real in a see-saw game that underlined Real's attacking prowess and their defensive frailties.

Real were desperate to punish Barcelona's 2-0 defeat to Getafe on Saturday but needed all their firepower to down Mallorca and make it six wins from six at home.

Barcelona are now four points behind Real, whose nearest challengers are Villarreal, just a point adrift after a sensational 3-2 win over ten-man Sevilla on Sunday.

Matias Fernandez scored a decisive 85th minute penalty for Villarreal who had trailed at 2-1 despite Sevilla having Brazilian defender Daniel Alves dismissed shortly before half-time.

Guille Franco levelled at 2-2 with his second of the match before Fernandez struck the winner.

"We showed once again that we never give in," said Franco. "It was a tough match against a good side but we came out with the three points."

Sevilla's goals came from Frederic Kanoute, who lambasted the referee for awarding the penalty, and Luis Fabiano, his eighth of the season, in an enthralling encounter.

Sevilla had beaten Real last weekend and Mallorca looked set to follow in their footsteps leading at 3-2 after Daniel Guiza, called into the Spanish squad for the Euro 2008 qualifier with Sweden, had netted just after the interval.

But goals from Raul and van Nistelrooy turned the game on its head in a goal frenzy.

"There were lots of goals and that was partly thanks to Mallorca who came here to play," said Schuster. "Some teams just try to defend all the time but they didn't."

Real went into the match against Mallorca with happy memories having won their 30th league title with a 2-1 victory over the islanders on the final day of last season.

Robinho headed the hosts ahead on 12 minutes after a great cross from compatriot Marcelo but the lead didn't last long with Fernando Varela equalising two minutes later.

Robinho then grabbed his fourth goal of the season on 16 minutes dispatching with aplomb after a pass from Raul.

But Real were at sixes and sevens in defence and defender Jose Nunes hammered a volley against the crossbar minutes later.

It was a warning and Varela matched Robinho by scoring his second of the match with a ferocious 36th minute equaliser.

Guiza then put Mallorca ahead but Real had too much for the islanders.