Misfiring Madrid continue to falter

Mon, Jan 14, 2013, 00:00

SPAIN:The pressure on Jose Mourinho is set to increase after a poor performance by Real Madrid saw them come away from bottom side Osasuna with just a point on Saturday.

It was a miserable night for Madrid, who were without the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos, with Kaka sent off 19 minutes after coming on as a substitute while Jose Maria Callejon had a goal disallowed for a borderline offside.

Rampant unbeaten leaders Barcelona ended the first half of the La Liga season with a record 55 of a possible 57 points when Lionel Messi scored one goal and had a hand in two more in a 3-1 win at Malaga last night.

An 18th victory in 19 games for Tito Vilanova’s side at the Rosaleda restored their 11-point lead over second-placed Atletico Madrid.

Malaga have the meanest defence in the league but a howler of a back pass by Ignacio Camacho gifted an opener to Messi in the 27th minute.

It was the World Player of the Year’s 28th league goal of the campaign. Messi then sent Fabregas clear to double the visitors’ lead five minutes after the break and then laid the ball into space for Thiago Alcantara to add an 82nd-minute third.

Resurgent Atletico go into the second half of the season with a perfect home record after Tiago and Radamel Falcao scored to help see off Zaragoza.

The victory means Atletico have won 10 La Liga home games in a row for the first time in almost 40 years.

It also stretched their advantage over third-placed rivals Real Madrid to seven points.

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