MADRID - Gonzalo Higuain's stunning injury-time strike secured a remarkable 3-2 comeback win for Real Madrid at home to Getafe in the Primera Liga on Tuesday. The Argentine striker levelled the scores at 1-1 in the first half and Guti equalised again in the 86th, just after Juan Albin had given the visitors the lead for a second time. Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas saved a late penalty, when Pepe was sent off, before Higuain lashed a shot high into the net for his 18th goal of the campaign at the end. The champions narrowed the gap on leaders Barcelona to just three points, with Pep Guardiola's side not playing at home to third-placed Sevilla until Wednesday. "It has been a tremendous game," Higuain told Radio Marca. "We will continue fighting (for the title) until the very end." At the foot of the table, King's Cup finalists Athletic Bilbao earned some breathing space with a 2-1 comeback win at basement side Numancia during whcih two players were sent off. The Basques trailed 1-0 and were down to 10 men from the 19th minute when Aitor Ocio was shown a second yellow card but goals from Gaizka Toquero and Fernando Llorente helped pull them up to 11th place, seven points above the drop zone. Numancia's Sergio Boris was also sent off in the 69th when he received a second booking. TETCHY MATCH Roberto Soldado had put Getafe ahead in the 10th minute at the Bernabeu, combining with another former Real Madrid youth team player Esteban Granero to head the opener. But Higuain equalised against the run of play on the halftime whistle, squirming through to net after some poor defending. An increasingly tetchy match then exploded into life at the end of the second half. Getafe substitute Albin scored a breakaway goal from Jaime Gavilan's knockdown in the 84th minute, only for Guti to level almost immediately with a superb curling freekick. Higuain was booked for diving when a penalty looked to be on the cards and, as Real's protests continued, Getafe's Francisco Casquero went down in the opposite area and the referee pointed to the spot with two minutes to go. Portugal's Pepe, who had pushed Casquero as he raced into the area, was shown a straight red after losing his cool and kicking the midfielder on the ground before raking his studs across his back. But Casillas saved Casquero's weak spot kick and, as the crowd roared the home side on, Higuain's stunning strike from the edge of the area sparked wild celebrations on the pitch. "A draw would have been like a defeat for us, we had to win, we had to win," Real's Dutch winger Royston Drenthe said while scuffles broke out behind him as the teams left the pitch.
21 April 2009
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