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Fiji Time: 4:12 AM on Monday 21 April

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Bale-less Madrid maintain chase

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

MADRID - Real Madrid shrugged off the loss of the injured Gareth Bale as they beat Valencia 3-2 on Sunday to move within five points of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga.

Barcelona were also victors as an eight-minute hat-trick from Pedro Rodriguez helped them come from 2-0 down to win 5-2 away at Getafe.

Bale's replacement Angel di Maria put Madrid in front with a left-footed drive on 28 minutes, but Pablo Piatti headed home an equaliser for the hosts six minutes later.

Cristiano Ronaldo then headed Di Maria's free-kick to put Madrid back in front five minutes before halftime, only for Valencia to level when Jeremy Mathieu met Dani Parejo's corner.

Madrid were not to be denied as substitute Jese Rodriguez grabbed the winner with a low drive that beat Vicente Guaita at his near post 10 minutes from time.

"In general I thought we did very well. We maybe needed to maintain a higher tempo after the first goal, but we had the will to win until the last minute and the result is a very important one," said Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti.

Barcelona were also made to work for their victory as goals from Sergio Escudero and Lisandro Lopez had given Getafe a 2-0 lead inside 14 minutes.