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Last Updated: Friday, 13 June, 2003, 13:11 GMT 14:11 UK
Real close in on title
Raul celebrates Real Madrid's second against Atletico Madrid
Raul celebrates Real Madrid's second against Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid took a huge step towards their 29th La Liga title on Sunday when they beat Atletico Madrid 4-0 while championship rivals Real Sociedad slumped to a 3-2 defeat at Celta Vigo.

Real now go into the final weekend of the Spanish season with a two-point cushion.

The Madrid giants will host Athletic Bilbao knowing that if they win or match Sociedad's result against Atletico Madrid at Anoeta they will be assured of the title.

The title appeared to slip from Sociedad's grasp when two goals apiece from Ronaldo and Raul gave Real an easy win over their crosstown rivals while the Basque side fell victim to two goals from Celta midfielder Alexander Mostovoi and another from Egyptian striker Mido.

Real Madrid now lead the table on 75 points, Sociedad follow on 73 and Deportivo Coruna, who lost 3-2 at Athletic Bilbao, are safe in third on 69.

WEEKEND FIXTURES
Saturday
Valladolid 2-0 Rayo Vallecano
Sunday
Athletic Bilbao 3-2 Deportivo Coruna
Atletico Madrid 0-4 Real Madrid
Celta Vigo 3-2 Real Sociedad
Espanyol 2-2 Villarreal
Malaga 3-2 Sevilla
Osasuna 4-2 Alaves
Real Betis 4-2 Racing Santander
Recreativo Huelva 1-1 Real Mallorca
Valencia 1-3 Barcelona
With Barcelona claiming a 3-1 win over nine-man Valencia at the Mestalla, Celta's victory assures them of fourth place and a first ever berth in the Champions League. Celta have 61 points to fifth-placed Valencia's 57.

In the only match played on Saturday, mid-table Valladolid cruised past bottom side Rayo Vallecano 2-0, with second-half goals from David Aganzo and Antonio Lopez.

Barcelona's victory keeps them in with a chance of a place in the Uefa Cup, but they must hope that six-placed Athletic Bilbao lose to Real Madrid and they win their last game at home to Celta.

Real got off to a dream start at Atletico when Zinedine Zidane threaded a perfectly weighted pass to Ronaldo who let rip with a fierce left foot shot in the seventh minute.

As news filtered through from Vigo that Real Sociedad, who led by one point before the day's matches, were trailing Celta, Real went further ahead thanks to a goal from Raul on 19 minutes.

The striker poked in at the far post after Luis Figo had curled a superb cross in behind the Atletico defence.

Atletico were still reeling when Ronaldo struck again just after the half hour. This time the World and European Player of the Year ghosted in at the far post to convert a low cross from fellow Brazilian Roberto Carlos.

Real Sociedad's Valery Karpin reacts to defeat in Vigo
Real Sociedad's Valery Karpin reacts to defeat in Vigo
Real cruised in the second half but still managed a fourth when Raul made the most of more dire defending to slot in from close range.

Sociedad never looked comfortable against a highly-motivated Celta, gunning for their first place in the Champions League.

The Basque side suffered an early blow when Mostovoi made space for himself on the edge of the area and sent keeper Sander Westerveld the wrong way with his deflected shot.

Sociedad suffered further setbacks when striker Darko Kovacevic was forced off before the break with an ankle injury and Mostovoi put Celta further ahead when he sneaked in to head home an Edu cross at the near post soon after the interval.

Turkish striker Nihat Kahveci clawed one back for Sociedad on 67 minutes, but they were caught out on the break a few minutes later as they pushed for an equaliser.

Celta striker Mido poked home into the empty net on 71 minutes and, although Nihat struck again to make it 3-2, Sociedad were unable to turn the match around, leaving their 8,000 fans with a gloomy trek back across northern Spain to San Sebastian.




SEE ALSO
Spanish title race wide open
01 Jun 03  |  Other European

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