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Game review
Sunday 27. September 2009 - 10:10

Five from five for Barcelona and Real Madrid

Barcelona joined Real Madrid on a maximum 15 points at the Spanish league summit with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring for the fifth consecutive game as the champions won 2-0 at Malaga on Saturday.

Ibrahimovic started on the substitutes bench after turning his ankle but came on for the injured Thierry Henry in the 28th minute and needed just 11 minutes to net the opener.

The Swede is now the only player to score in every game notching five goals, one behind Valencia's David Villa in the goal-scoring charts.

"He (Ibrahimovic) is a key figure in this team and we can play a bit more direct if we need to," said Barcelona's Br azilian star Dani Alves. "He can help us a lot with his goals and overall quality."

Cristiano Ronaldo failed to score in Real's 3-0 home win over promoted Tenerife earlier on Saturday that maintained their perfect start and they sit marginally above Barcelona on goal difference.

Europe is the next port of call for both teams with Barcelona facing Dinamo Kiev in the Champions League on Tuesday while Real take on Marseille 24 hours later.

Barcelona had crushed Racing Santander 4-1 in midweek - scoring three times inside the first 26 minutes - but found Malaga tough going so Ibrahimovic's goal six minutes before the break was a real relief.

After missing a one-on-one seconds earlier the Swede shrugged off the disappointment to score seconds later running onto Lionel Messi's lofted pass, controlling the ball on his chest and then firing home.

Defender Gerard Pique popped up with his second goal of the season on 58 minutes using an outstretched toe to poke home Xavi's great cross.

Substitute Albert Luque was sent off in the closing stages for a late tackle on Alves.

Earlier, French international striker Karim Benzema bagged a second-half brace as Real defeated Tenerife 3-0 for their fifth consecutive win.

Benzema scored twice inside 11 minutes before Br azilian Kaka added a third to delight the Santiago Bernabeu crowd and maintain Real's perfect start.

Real coach Manuel Pellegrini paid tribute to substitutes Guti and Kaka for turning the game in Real's favour.

"It was a poor first half and the changes helped us in the second half," said Pellegrini. " Guti took control in our half and Kaka did it in our opponents' half of the pitch."

"We will lose at some stage but we know what direction we are heading in and the squad looks good."

It was a historic day for Real captain Raul, now 32, as he became the club's all-time leading league appearance holder notching his 505th game to beat the previous record of Manolo Sanchis.

It was also a special day for brothers Xabi Alonso and Mikel Alonso, who faced each other in an intriguing midfield battle.

Portuguese centre-back Pepe returned for Real for his first league outing since April 21 when he was slapped with a 10-match ban for stamping on Francisco Casquero in a 3-2 derby win over Getafe.

Sevilla kept to within three points of the top two thanks to a convincing 4-0 rout over 10-man Athletic Bilbao at San Mames.

Sevilla scored three times in a one-sided first half through Br azilian Renato (five minutes), Alvaro Negredo (30) and Frederic Kanoute (45).

Elsewhere a last-gasp equaliser from Maxi Rodriguez helped Atletico Madrid snatch a point in a 2-2 draw at Valencia.

Valencia looked poised to take the points after goals from Pablo Hernandez and David Villa had cancelled out Sergio "Kun" Aguero's early opener but Argentine Maxi struck in stoppage time to level the scores.

The draw was a relief for Atletico but they have still yet to win in the league and the pressure is still on coach Abel Resino.

Valencia fans were also unhappy with their coach Unai Emery waving their handkerchieves after the full-time whistle.

Valencia sit fifth, seven points behind the leaders, while Atletico are third from bottom with just three points.

Provided by: Frank Henriksen
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