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Ronaldo scores Real Madrid equaliser

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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

MADRID - Cristiano Ronaldo equalised eight minutes from time as Real Madrid remained top of La Liga thanks to a pulsating 2-2 draw against Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon.

Real remain three points clear of Atletico but Barcelona moved to within a point of the leaders as they beat Almeria 4-1 yesterday.

Karim Benzema had fired Real into a third-minute lead when he converted Angel di Maria's cross.

However, despite being denied what appeared a penalty when Sergio Ramos seemed to trip Diego Costa, Atletico were in front by halftime thanks to fine strikes by Koke and Gabi.

Another turned down penalty appeal saw Atletico assistant boss Mono Burgos sent to the stands as he tried to confront the referee midway through the second-half.

And Atletico were left to feel hard done by when Ronaldo spun on the edge of the box to drill home a late equaliser.

"I think we can leave here reinforced, we have drawn a game in which we were losing," said Real coach Carlo Ancelotti.

"The reaction of the players was good, in general we can be satisfied because Atletico Madrid are a very good team, especially at home.

"We are still three points ahead of them and we are leaders."

Atletico captain Gabi was understandably left enraged as his side missed out on a possible return to the top of the table.

"I leave with a bad taste in my mouth," he said.

At the Camp Nou, Barcelona maintained the pressure on both Madrid sides as they made amends for their 3-1 defeat at Real Sociedad last weekend.

It took the hosts just eight minutes to make the breakthrough when Alexis Sanchez tapped home after Esteban failed to hold Cesc Fabregas's shot.

Lionel Messi made it 2-0 with a fantastic free-kick from 25 yards to register his eighth goal in his last six games.

However, Almeria were handed a lifeline three minutes later as Angel Trujillo took advantage of some awful marking from the Barca defence to head home Corona's corner.

The visitors could even have been level after the break when Aleix Vidal fired straight at Victor Valdes inside the area.

Barca did finally put the game to bed when Carles Puyol bundled home after Messi's looping header came back off the bar before Xavi curled home the fourth two minutes from time.