Skip to main content

Real Madrid top of La Liga after city rivals Atletico slump to defeat

February 8, 2014 -- Updated 2342 GMT (0742 HKT)
Gareth Bale dinks the ball over Villarreal keeper Sergio Asenjo to put Real Madrid ahead in the Bernabeu on Saturday.
Gareth Bale dinks the ball over Villarreal keeper Sergio Asenjo to put Real Madrid ahead in the Bernabeu on Saturday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Gareth Bale scores in 4-2 win against Villarreal at the Bernabeu
  • Atletico slump to 2-0 defeat at Almeria and drop to second on goal difference
  • Shakhtar Donetsk's announce death of Brazilian striker Maicon
  • 25-year-old killed in a car crash in Donetsk, says a club statement

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- Real Madrid shot to the top of La Liga on Saturday night after they won and their city rivals Atletico suffered a shock loss at Almeria.

Diego Simeone's side surrender first place on goal difference following a four-goal swing on Saturday night as Real Madrid beat Villarreal 4-2 and Atletico lost 2-0.

Relegation-threatened Almeria scored twice in the last 10 minutes to seal an unlikely victory with both goals coming courtesy of midfielder Verza -- the second from the penalty spot after Atletico goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia saw red.

Carlo Ancelotti's side had a more routine evening at the Bernabeu in large part thanks to Gareth Bale.

With Cristiano Ronaldo serving the first game of a three-match suspension after being sent off last weekend, it was left to the Bale, who returned to action after missing the three previous games with a calf injury, to guide Los Blancos to three points.

The Welsh international put Real ahead in the seventh minute, seizing on a mistake by center back Chechu Dorado before chipping the ball home past goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo to score his 11th goal of the season.

Eighteen minutes later, Bale turned provider with a cross from the right which was met by Karim Benzema who doubled the lead.

The visitors put themselves back in the game two minutes before the break with a superb strike from Mario Gaspar, but Madrid settled supporter's nerves by re-establishing a two-goal lead in the 64th minute -- 20-year-old striker Jese providing the finish.

Back came Villarreal five minutes later with a Giovani Dos Santos free kick which set up what could have been a nervous last 20 minutes for the home side, but the game was put to bed by Benzema with his second of the night in the 76th minute.

The results give both Real and Atletico 57 points from 23 games but with Real shading the goal difference by one (plus 41 goals versus plus 40).

Elsewhere in La Liga, Rayo Vallecano recorded a resounding 4-1 win over Malaga to lift the second-from-bottom side level on 20 points with 18th place Valladolid who play Elche on Sunday.

Valencia moved up to eighth with an even more emphatic win following their brilliant 3-2 win at the Nou Camp last weekend.

A 5-0 drubbing of bottom side Betis Sevilla means Juan Antonio Pizzi's side are now level on 31 points with Sevilla who will be hoping they can repeat Valencia's trick when they host Barcelona on Sunday evening.

Over in Italy, there were wins for all three home sides on Saturday.

Third-place Napoli were 3-1 winners over AC Milan who remain in 10th place. Fourth-place Fiorentina beat Atalanta 2-0 while Udinese beat ChievoVerona 3-0.

Leaders Juventus travel to Hellas Verona on Sunday while second-place Roma will face local rivals Lazio in the Stadio Olimpico.

Donetsk mourns Maicon

A busy day of European football was marred by tragedy off the pitch as Shakhtar Donetsk announced their Brazilian striker Maicon Pereira de Oliveira had been killed in a car accident.

I have no words. We have lost a very good man, a friend, a colleague, a friend. This is a difficult and tragic moment in the life of Shakhtar and its fans
Darijo Srna, Shakhtar Donetsk captain

A statement published on the club's website read: "FC Shakhtar regretfully informs that on 8 February 2014 the life of a footballer Maicon Pereira de Oliveira tragically ended. He died in a car crash in Donetsk."

"He was a talented footballer, open and friendly guy. Maicon loved life and knew how to make it positive and bright. Tragic, untimely and absurd death took away a wonderful person from our ranks. Maicon was only 25 years old.

"It is a terrible bereavement for each of us. FC Shakhtar expresses condolences and sympathy to Maicon's family and friends. May he rest in peace..."

Maicon joined the Ukrainian champions from Volyn Lutsk in 2012 and made six appearances. At the time of his death he was on loan to fellow Ukrainian side Illichivets Mariupol.

Shakhtar captain Darijo Srna said: "I have no words. We have lost a very good man, a friend, a colleague, a friend. This is a difficult and tragic moment in the life of Shakhtar and its fans."

Read more: Liverpool hammer Arsenal

Read more: Bayern Munich march on

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1622 GMT (0022 HKT)
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1411 GMT (2211 HKT)
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.
ADVERTISEMENT