One-man Madrid keep up pressure on Barca

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It was like putting up with nine hours of Jacqui Smith, only to be rewarded by seeing her being blasted into space, Emperor Ming style.

The first half of the clash against Getafe at the Bernabeu was awful. Dire. Possibly the worst since the last league game at Real Madrid’s home.

The second saw the Bernabeu rocking and swaying like Maniche in a tree house and brought back memories of the famous 4-3 win against Espanyol two seasons ago - a match where a certain Gonzalo Higuaín first performed his championship-saving heroics and Fabio Capello came dangerously close to expressing an emotion aside from strop and grump.

Gonzo rescues Real... for a change

Real Madrid went into the break in Tuesday’s game drawing 1-1, after a thoroughly undeserved late first-half strike from the Argentine striker levelled the score in a match that a rubbish Roberto Soldado should have finished off, many times over.

But then Getafe continued to be a thorn in Madrid’s side with a breakaway effort that Albín buried with some aplomb. Whatever that means. With the Bernabeu feeling that their title toast had been well and truly burned, Guti equalised with a thumping free-kick.

Minutes later, Pepe brought down Javier Casquero in the Madrid box and proceeded to go Goodfellas on his Getafe backside by kicking lumps out of the midfielder.

The referee’s report notes that he proceeded to yell insults at the match officials as he was dragged off the pitch, only to reappear to celebrate Higuaín’s dramatic winner.

“I know that I made a mistake and must be punished,” admitted the blubbing Portuguese defender after the game. “He should be banned for 10 games,” stormed Angel Torres, the unforgiving Getafe president.

Casquero, perhaps still suffering from concussion, decided to chip Casillas for the subsequent penalty. It didn’t work. And with seconds on the clock, Higuaín charged into the opposition box to blast the ball past the excellent Stojkovic in the Getafe goal. Cue bedlam.

And cue an uncharacteristically industrious La Liga Loca heading to the Bernabeu backrooms armed with stun gun to snare the Dutch duet of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and the returning Royston Drenthe.

“I couldn’t believe it!” gushed a very hyper (for the Dutchman) Huntelaar. “It was a match where you think ‘ah sh*t, we’re going to lose’.”

Pepe: Sent off 

Drenthe celebrated his return to the Bernabeu after a three-month absence by picking up a booking within seconds. But it was all part of a cunning plan, revealed the Dutch midfielder.

“I spoke to my father before the game. We said that if I enter the match, then I have to go in hard. Even if you get a yellow card, they know that Royston is back,” growled Drenthe.

Admitting that sleep was going to be tough that night, the Madrid man took time out to heap more praise on Higuaín. “He can be incredible in the most difficult of moments.”

Even Sport, over in Barcelona, found the match intriguing with Josep Maria Casanovas writing that “it was a final of shocks with laughs and tears.”

However, the paper is not getting too carried away with the affair and focuses its attention on Wednesday’s visit of Sevilla when “we are all playing” which may not be impressive as it sounds considering the usual attendance for midweek Barca games at 10pm.

While most of the Sevilla squad are preparing for a journey to the Camp Nou, the goalkeeper for the encounter, Javi Varas, is apparently expecting a trip into the valley of death. Or rather his mother is.

“She has been to La Macarena to light candles for me,” revealed the fearing-no-evil Sevilla man who is standing in for the suspended Andres Palop.

In Tuesday’s other game, Athletic did themselves a huge favour with a 2-1 away win to a now very doomed Numancia. But it was no thanks to defender Aitor Ocio whose fortnight has gone very Pete Tong.

Having been sent off against Osasuna two rounds ago, the Athletic stopper returned to the line-up only to score an own goal within nine minutes and be given his marching orders not long after with two swift yellows.

Wednesday sees Osasuna ‘entertainingi’ Málaga in the Dick Cheney sense, Deportivo ‘entertaining’ Almería in the Spanish sitcom sense, while Betis are looking for a third win on the spin at home to Valencia.

The Mestalla men have been full of remorse all week, with both David Villa and Joaquín apologising for their unfortunate behaviour during Sunday’s 3-1 win against Sevilla.

Villa: Strops off 

The two players were substituted in the victory and both players let their angry feelings known to Unai Emery. However, the pugnacious pair subsequently remembered that the hard-lining Valencia manager carried his childhood hobby of burning ants with a magnifying glass into adulthood and sought his forgiveness.

“I thought the doctor has ordered the substitution,” said Villa as motivation for losing his rag.

“I was breast-fed till the age of seven!” confessed Joaquín. About three years ago.

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