MADRID - Real Madrid did not deserve to lose by two goals against leaders Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Saturday and could even have snatched an unlikely victory if they had taken their chances, coach Juande Ramos said. Late goals from Samuel Eto'o, who earlier had a penalty saved by Iker Casillas, and Lionel Messi condemned Ramos to a 2-0 defeat on his league debut since replacing Bernd Schuster as coach on Tuesday. Barca's win stretches their advantage over their arch rivals to 12 points after 15 matches and Ramos's injury-plagued side, languishing in fifth place, now face a huge challenge to defend their title. "The result was excessive considering what happened on the pitch," the former Sevilla and Tottenham Hotspur boss said at a news conference. "We worked and fought hard and we had chances that we didn't take," he added. "But that's the way it is in football." Ramos said he was happy with the way his players battled to keep a dominant Barca at bay but conceded that the 12-point gap was considerable. "But there are a lot of matches left and you have to take each game as it comes," he said. "Barcelona have played at an extremely high level so far but the season is long and we have the return matches to come." Barcelona top the table with 38 points, eight ahead of Valencia, who beat Espanyol 2-1 earlier on Saturday. Villarreal, who play at fourth-placed Sevilla on Sunday, are third on 29 points with Real on 26. VERY DANGEROUS Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, who played in 10 "Clasicos" for Barca and was taking charge of his first as coach, said his players may have been "over-excited" in the first period when they failed to take several clear chances. He paid tribute to Real's defensive efforts and said that as the season was only 15-matches old he would try to keep his players' feet on the ground. "We have won one more match and we know what it means to beat Real Madrid but it's just one match," he said. "There are a lot of games to be played and they are all potentially very dangerous," he added. "The lead (over Real) is good but we are not playing just against them."
14 December 2008
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