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Real rally to best two-goal deficit

Madrid: Real Madrid fought back from two goals down to grab a 3-2 victory at Malaga while Barcelona did their best to help under-fire coach Louis van Gaal with an easy 4-0 win over nine-man Real Mallorca on Saturday.

Malaga took a deserved first half lead against Real with goals from Kizito Musampa and Dely Valdes, but the European champions sprang to life after the break and a brilliant solo effort from Zinedine Zidane, a tap-in from Raul and a Luis Figo penalty sealed the win. The result keeps Real Madrid in third spot, a point behind Valencia and five adrift of leaders Real Sociedad.

After a troubled week, Barcelona managed to put their problems to one side as Patrick Kluivert grabbed a fine hattrick in their comfortable victory over Mallorca, their first win in six games.

The Dutch striker claimed his first with a diving header in the 25th minute, two minutes after Mallorca defender Alvaro Novo had been sent off for an off-the-ball incident involving Thiago Motta.

Marc Overmars weighed in with a deflected strike in the 44th minute before Kluivert completed the rout with two more goals early in the second half.

Barcelona now move up to 10th place, a distant 13 points behind undefeated Sociedad. Malaga set about Real Madrid from the first whistle with their lively strike partnership of Dely and Dario Silva causing Vicente del Bosque’s side a host of early problems.

Dely shot just wide of the post after a fine cross from his team mate on seven minutes and the Real defence looked nervous every time Malaga went on the attack.

Real left back Roberto Carlos found himself caught out after 17 minutes when he inadvertently provided the pass for Malaga’s Musampa to open the scoring.

Malaga continued to dominate and it came as no surprise when the Andalucians extended their lead five minutes before halftime with a brilliantly-crafted move on the edge of the box.

Musampa started things off as he turned past Zidane and slipped a neat ball to Dely, who immediately offloaded to Silva.

The Uruguayan striker sent a deft chip rebounding off the bar and straight into the path of Dely who scored with his thigh to make it 2-0.

But Real sparked into life after the break and Zidane scored a brilliant solo goal to put his side back into the match.

The French midfielder picked the ball up on the left wing, jinked his way past two defenders and then fired in with the outside of his right foot just two minutes after the restart.

Real then began to pour on the pressure and drew level when Raul turned the ball in midway through the second half after a neat cross from Ronaldo.

Six minutes later the visitors were gifted the victory when defender Juanito barged into Figo in the area and the Portuguese international coolly converted the penalty.

Roma triumph

AS Roma defender Walter Samuel struck his second goal in two Serie A matches to give his side a precious 1-0 away win over Torino Saturday.

Roma keeper Ivan Pelizzoli saved Lucarelli’s spot kick and in the first minute of the second half Samuel made amends, latching on to Gabriel Batistuta’s free kick to beat keeper Stefano Sorrentino with a left-footed shot.

In an earlier match, a goal by midfielder Giampiero Pinzi gave Udinese a 1-0 win at Modena in a match interrupted when the stadium lights failed.

The win lifted Udinese to seventh place in Serie A, their best position of the season. They have not lost a league match since going down 1-0 to AC Milan at the beginning of November.

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