Raul breaks record as Real narrow gap

Barcelona's supermen finally hit some kryptonite in the shape of mid-table Betis and a rampant Real Madrid took full advantage with a 4-0 win over Sporting Gijon that closed the gap at the top to 10 points and continued their impressive run of eight consecutive wins ahead of the visit of Liverpool in nine days time.

"Madrid's season is all about the Champions League whereas we are still alive in the Premier League," Rafa Benitez had told the Spanish press this weekend, but the current La Liga Champions watched Barca draw 2-2 with Betis and then played some of their best football since Juande Ramos took over at the club last December.

"We are a bit closer to them after this weekend's results," said the former Tottenham coach. "It is still difficult because the gap is 10 points but we have to keep going in the same vein. This run we are on is giving the players confidence."

Without injured winger Arjen Robben, Ramos switched to a 3-5-2 using Sergio Ramos and Brazilian Marcelo as marauding wing-backs and the result was emphatic.

"I have always said that we are not reliant on Robben and we have shown tonight that we are capable of winning and winning well without him," he added, having now picked up 24 of a possible 27 points and conceding just three goals since taking over.

It was Sergio Ramos' drilled cross from the right on 15 minutes which Raul met perfectly with a crisp volley to put Madrid ahead and make him the club's all-time leader goal-scorer – his 308th goal moving him one clear of Alfredo Di Stefano. On 36 minutes Klass van Huntelaar made it two, coolly finishing after latching on to a Gonzalo Higuain header. In the second half Marcelo burst forward to finish another Higuain assist and then Raul scored from close range.

Earlier Barcelona had drawn for the second time this season with bogey team Betis and they might easily have left with nothing had Samuel Eto'o not scored his 100th and 101st goals for the club to salvage a point.

Europe's top scorer struck twice to take his tally for the season to 23 in 22 games and get Barcelona back into a match they looked losing after the home side took an early two-goal lead.

Melli put Betis ahead from an Emana corner and former Liverpool forward Mark Gonzalez scored from a Sergio Garcia cross to make it 2-0.

Eto'o led the Barca comeback converting the rebound from his own missed penalty after Andres Iniesta had been fouled but with Ricardo inspired in the Betis goal they had to wait until six minutes from time before Eto'o equalised. After scoring he ran to the Barca bench shouting 'I told you! I told you!' at coach Pep Guardiola before being congratulated by his manager.

Guardiola explained afterwards: "He had asked me to play a more central role in the attack but I had preferred to use him out on the right and Messi through the middle. I impose the order on the team but it is the players that are out there and sometimes they have to go with their instincts."

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
Louis van Gaal at the Hawthorns prior to Manchester United's game against West Brom
football

Follow the latest updates from the Monday night Premier League fixture

News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Concerns raised phenomenon is threatening resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past