Real Madrid reserve striker
Roberto Soldado came to the Spanish giants' rescue for the second time this
season with the equaliser seven minutes from time in their 1-1 draw with 10-man
Soldado, the joint top scorer in the Spanish second division where he normally
plys his trade with the Real Madrid 'B' team, had only been on the pitch a few
minutes after replacing Julio Baptista before he latched onto a pass from
Earlier in the season, Soldado had come on late in Real's Champions League game
against Olympiakos and grabbed a last-gasp winner in a 2-1 victory.
The 20-year-old saved Real's blushes, although the Spanish giants were once
again whistled from the field by their critical fans.
Osasuna had been a man short for most of the game following Francisco Punal's
red card after 16 minutes for man-handling Real's Roberto Carlos.
Despite the disadvantage, Savo Milosevic headed the visitors ahead after 76
minutes and another embarrassment for Real seemed on the cards until Soldado's
The draw means that Real's bitter rivals Barcelona open up a two point gap at
the top of the Spanish first division in the wake of their comfortable 3-1 win
over struggling Cadiz on Saturday.
Two goals by Samuel Eto'o, after Ludovic Giuly had got Barca's opener after 31
minutes, secured the three points before Nenad Mirosavilevic got a consolation
for Cadiz in injury time.
Barcelona's win was a club record 12th consecutive triumph in all competitions,
and their ninth on-the-trot in the league.
"I have to congratulate the players on getting this record. Now, we've got to
stay on the same road," said coach Frank Rijkaard.
Barca have 37 points from 15 games with Osasuna still second but now two points
Real Madrid stay in third after the draw but only on goal difference, with four
teams on 29 points.
Fourth-placed Villarreal continued their good run of form by coming from behind
to beat Getafe 2-1 on Sunday.
They have lost only one league game in their last 13 and that was to Barcelona.
Riki Sanchez put Getafe ahead after 20 minutes but Villarreal's Juan Roman
Riquelme equalized with a free kick from more than 20 metres in injury time at
the end of the first half.
Diego Forlan, the joint winner of last season's European Golden Boot, got
another vital goal when he blasted Villarreal's winner from just inside the area
after 58 minutes.
"The key to our win was that we made the most of our chances," said Villarreal
coach Manuel Pellegrini.
"The 1-1 draw at half time was a fair reflection but we went out after the break
with a lot of motivation and convinced we could win the game.
"I warned the team before the match that Getafe were an accomplished team
regardless of their recent run of bad results and they did their best to
complicate matters, especially in the first half."
Valencia, Spanish champions twice in the last four years, boosted their hopes of
returning to Europe next season when they won 1-0 at relegation-haunted Alaves
Raul Albiol got the only goal after just seven minutes and the defeat leaves
Alaves, who are second from bottom, still without a win in front of their home
Sevilla engineered a remarkable recovery against Real Sociedad, with three goals
in the last 14 minutes to beat the Basque visitors 3-2.
Real Sociedad's Mikel Labaka found the net with a header after 25 minutes but
the side from San Sebastian were then reduced to 10 men after defender Daniel
Cifuentes was sent off late in the first half.
However, Sociedad defied the odds and Gaizka Garitano headed them further ahead
after 56 minutes.
Kepa Blanco started Sevilla's fight back after 76 minutes and ex-Tottenham
striker Fredi Kanoute equalized five minutes later before Kepa got Sevilla's
winner a minute from the whistle.