Raul leads Real charge
Two goals from Raul Gonzalez helped league leaders Real Madrid preserve their 100 per cent home record with a comfortable 3-1 win over Racing Santander here on Saturday.
Raul and an own goal by Racing defender Sergio Sanchez put Real 2-0 ahead in just 10 minutes but the reigning Spanish champions then had to wait until the 70th minute before the Real captain got his second goal of the night.
A lapse of concentration let former Real striker Pedro Munitis get a consolation for Racing 17 minutes from time but it was too late for the visitors to stage a full recovery.
"I think the scoreline was not a reflection of our domination," said Real coach Bernd Schuster.
"But at least Racing never gave in, it could have been 200-1 to us but I don't think they would have stopped trying to score. That's what I like to see," added the German in tribute to Real's game opponents.
Racing came to the Spanish capital boasting the best defensive record in the Spanish first division but were powerless to resist the most lethal attack in la Liga.
Raul continued his series of scintillating performances by opening the scoring after just four minutes.
Real put together a well-worked move out of their own half involving Pepe, Marcelo and Robinho before Ruud van Nistelrooy provided the pass that found Raul unmarked.
He than had little problem sending his left foot shot past Racing's oncoming goalkeeper Tono Rodriguez from almost exactly the penalty spot.
Six minutes later, Real added their second strike, which will go down in the record books as a Sanchez own goal but it really belongs to Wesley Sneijder.
Julio Baptista, playing in the unusual position on the left side of the midfield, found Sneijder open on the left flank and the Dutch winger took the ball forward 20 metres before shooting through the legs of Tono.
The ball took a slight deflection and was spinning off for a corner but Sneijder darted around the prone Tono before firing across the face of the goal, and a retreating Sanchez could only bundle the ball into his own net.
After 32 minutes, Racing's Polish striker Euzebiusz Smolarek beat Casillas only to see his left foot shot hit the post.
Raul then got his eighth goal of the season with a free kick from 25 metres out after 70 minutes before Munitis scored from close range after a Mohammed Tchite pass.
Real now have 32 points from 14 games and a four point advantage over Barcelona, who drew 1-1 with local rivals Espanyol later on Saturday with coach Frank Rijkaard leaving Ronaldinho on the bench once again.
Villarreal also have 28 points but a game in hand and can move back into second spot with a draw or better at struggling Valladolid on Sunday.
Andres Iniesta put Barca ahead after Lionel Messi had outpaced two Espanyol defenders down the right wing before picking out the Spanish international midfielder with a superb defence-splitting pass.
Barca then almost added another goal midway through the first half when Xavi Hernandez's free kick hit the cross bar and then Bojan Krkic sent the rebound against the post, but eventually Espanyol cleared the danger.
However, Espanyol pressed hard for an equaliser and it finally came after 69 minutes from second half substitute Ferran Corominas.
Coro, who had only been on the pitch 10 minutes, volleyed home from 10 metres out from an Albert Riera cross.
Champions League contenders Sevilla came crashing down to earth after their impressive 3-0 mid-week win over English Premiership leaders Arsenal in the Champions League when they went down 1-0 at newly-promoted Almeria.
Almeria's Peruvian defender Wilmar Acasiete got the only goal of the game with a header just before the whistle.
Sevilla had to play the majority of the second half with just 10 men after their Brazilian right back Daniel Alves received his second yellow card just after the break.