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Real Madrid Wreck Barca's Unbeaten Record
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Goals from Raul and Ruud van Nistelrooy earned Real Madrid a 2-0 win over arch-rivals Barcelona at the Bernabeu on Sunday, ending the unbeaten league record of the Spanish champions.

Real captain Raul dealt the first blow after three minutes when he rose to head in at the far post after right back Sergio Ramos had swept the ball in from the right.

Van Nistelrooy hit the second goal after another speedy break six minutes into the second half, poking the ball past keeper Victor Valdes after a fine cross from live-wire Robinho.

"This team is now playing like a team, it has both spirit and quality," Real coach Fabio Capello told reporters.

"These are three important points in that they bring us closer to Barca and provide an important psychological boost."

Barcelona are still top but are now level on 16 points with Valencia, who beat Osasuna 1-0 after David Villa notched his fifth goal of the season following a knockdown by fellow striker Fernando Morientes.

Sevilla are a point behind in third after a double strike from Frederic Kanoute clinched a 2-1 home win over promoted Gimnastic Tarragona. The Mali striker is joint top scorer in the league with seven.

Real's win lifted them to fourth, level on points with Deportivo Coruna and two behind Barca.

Barcelona inflicted a humiliating 3-0 defeat on Real when the sides met at the Bernabeu last season, Ronaldinho being given a standing ovation by the home fans after a sublime double.

This time the Bernabeu faithful were given something to cheer early on when Raul opened the scoring.

Real hunted Barca down in midfield every time they had the ball and, with Robinho to the fore, looked to break quickly.

Raul almost doubled the lead in the 15th minute when he fired a shot against the bar from the edge of the area after Robinho had bamboozled his way past Gianluca Zambrotta with his trademark step-overs.

Barca found their rhythm as the half wore on and spurned two gilt-edged chances to level.

Eidur Gudjohnsen fired wide from point-blank range after Lionel Messi had carved his way into the area and the Argentine teenager scooped the ball over the bar soon after.

Real floored Barca again at the start of the second half.

This time van Nistelrooy provided the finishing touch when he poked the ball past the advancing Valdes after Robinho broke clear down the right.

Van Nistelrooy almost added a third when he hit the bar with a dipping shot four minutes later. He also fired straight at Valdes after being put clear.

(Reuters October 23, 2006)

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