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Away-day blues continue for Real Madrid

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Story highlights

  • Third-placed Spanish champions Real Madrid lose 1-0 at Betis
  • Jose Mourinho's team beaten for third time in 13 league matches -- all away from home
  • Madrid could end the weekend 11 points behind leaders Barcelona
  • Bayern Munich move nine points clear in Germany with thrashing of Hanover

Real Madrid's Spanish title defense suffered another setback on Saturday as Jose Mourinho's team lost 1-0 at Real Betis.

It was third-placed Madrid's third defeat in 13 league matches this season, all of them away from the Santiago Bernabeu, and meant Los Blancos could end the weekend 11 points behind leaders Barcelona.

On Sunday, Tito Vilanova's team travel to Levante, who dropped to sixth behind Malaga and fifth-placed Betis.

Real's city rivals Atletico could move eight points clear in second with a Sunday victory at home to Sevilla.

Betis midfielder Benat Etxebarria, who has been part of Spain's national squad this season, pounced on an error by Angel Di Maria to fire the only goal from the edge of the penalty area in the 17th minute.

Real had the ball in the net before halftime, but the visitors were left aggrieved after striker Karim Benzema appeared to be incorrectly ruled offside from Xabi Alonso's free-kick.

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    Real had almost 68% of possession and managed 18 shots to Betis' nine, but could not breach the defense of a team that lost 5-1 to Sevilla last weekend.

    Mourinho's men also drew away to Manchester City on Wednesday in the Champions League, but it was enough to seal qualification for the last 16 of Europe's top club competition.

    "I try to be fair when my team lose and not look for excuses, but it's obvious that the side that plays Wednesday should not play on Saturday," Mourinho told reporters.

    "It's true that other sides have a control over the calendar that we do not have, but I congratulate Betis who played a great game from start to finish."

    Malaga claimed fourth place with a 4-0 crushing of Valencia on Saturday, following up the club's unbeaten run in the Champions League group stage.

    Young midfielder Francisco Portillo opened the scoring in the eighth minute, then the Andalucian side netted three times in the final 10 minutes through veteran strikers Javier Saviola and Roque Santa Cruz and the highly-rated 20-year-old Isco.

    In Germany, Bayern Munich moved nine points clear after Saturday's 5-0 thrashing of Hanover.

    The Bavarians led 3-0 at the break through Javi Martinez, Toni Kroos and Franck Ribery, while Brazilian defender Dante netted in the second half before Germany striker Mario Gomez came off the bench to score on his return from ankle surgery.

    It took Jupp Heynckes' team to a Bundesliga record 34 points from the first 13 matches.

    Defending champions Borussia Dortmund claimed second place with a 2-1 win at Mainz as Germany midfielder Marco Reus and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski canceled out an early goal from Marco Caligiuri.

    Lewandowski moved to the top of the scoring charts, joining Bayern's Mario Mandzukic and Eintracht Frankfurt's Alexander Meier on nine goals.

    Schalke dropped to third after being held 1-1 at home by fourth-placed Frankfurt, who had Algerian midfielder Karim Matmour sent off for a second booking late in the match.

    Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar put the Royal Blues ahead with his fourth league goal this season in the 11th minute but Stefan Aigner headed an equalizer soon after.

    In France, Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain returned to the top of the Ligue 1 table with a 4-0 win over Troyes on Saturday.

    The Sweden striker returned from a domestic suspension to take his tally to a league-leading 12 this season.

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