Real Madrid edges Getafe 1-0 in Spain

JOSEPH WILSON Associated Press Published:

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- Real Madrid edged crosstown rival Getafe 1-0 thanks to Sergio Ramos' early header on Saturday, putting extra pressure on second-place Barcelona to keep pace with the Spanish league leader.

Madrid's eighth straight away victory in league play gave it a 10-point cushion over the defending champions ahead of their game against the in-form Real Sociedad later.

Madrid dominated possession, but Getafe -- the only team to beat Barcelona in any competition this season -- held firm in defense to keep alive its options until the final whistle.

"It was an evenly matched game against a rival that always plays us tough," Ramos said. "But you have to know how to suffer and at the end you get the reward."

Getafe, which entered the game unbeaten in six rounds, had an excellent opportunity to grab the lead three minutes in, but young forward Abdel Barrada volleyed over the bar from point-blank range.

That would be one of the few times the hosts threatened Iker Casillas' net as Madrid quickly grabbed the lead in the 18th when Ramos turned Mesut Oezil's corner kick into the far side of the net with a powerful header. The assist took the Germany midfielder's league-high tally to 12 on the season.

Cristiano Ronaldo and a very active Karim Benzema drew saves from Getafe goalkeeper Miguel Moya as Madrid pressed for a second goal to put the game away after halftime.

Madrid's lack of finishing touch almost cost it in the 72nd when defender Pepe clearly blocked Diego Castro's shot with his arm before collapsing to the ground as if knocked unconscious, but the referee ignored Getafe's call for a penalty.

Even so, Jose Mourinho's side was always closer to a second goal than Getafe was to the leveler as Moya stretched to deny substitute Gonzalo Higuain from netting a late goal.

Elsewhere, Espanyol substitute Juan Albin scored in stoppage time as his team rallied twice to draw 3-3 at Athletic Bilbao.

Bilbao appeared set to get the win at San Mames Stadium after Fernando Llorente and Javi Martinez scored headers in the second half, but Albin ran onto new signing Kalu Uche's pass and fired a shot from a tight angle off the crossbar and into the net.

Espanyol had already recovered from Oscar de Marcos' opener for the hosts with long-range strikes by Ndri Romaric and Vladimir Weiss on each side of halftime.

Levante held onto fourth place despite a 1-1 draw with Racing Santander, level on points with Espanyol and two clear of Bilbao.

Mallorca edged Real Betis 1-0 as both teams finished with 10 men after Betis' Pedro Mario and Mallorca's Ivan Ramis were each booked twice.

On Sunday, it's: Sporting Gijon vs. Osasuna, Sevilla vs. Villarreal, Zaragoza vs. Rayo Vallecano, and Atletico Madrid vs. Valencia.

Malaga hosts Granada on Monday.