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Football | Spain

Marco Asensio © Gallo Images

Real Madrid win eight-goal thriller

Real Madrid mounted a stirring second-half comeback helped by Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos to win 5-3 at Real Betis in a thrilling La Liga game on Sunday, demonstrating their awesome power in attack as well as their vulnerabilities.

Second-placed Atletico Madrid earlier won 2-0 at home to Athletic Bilbao as they cut the gap behind leaders Barcelona back to seven points after Diego Costa scored his first league goal in six weeks to finish off the resilient visitors.

Marco Asensio headed Real, who are fourth, in front after 11 minutes but Aissa Mandi nodded an equaliser in the 33rd before the visitors' Nacho Fernandez diverted a fumbled Keylor Navas save into his own net to give Betis the lead four minutes later.

A party atmosphere had gripped the Benito Villamarin stadium but locally-born Real captain Ramos punctured the mood, as he has done so often in recent years, making it 2-2 with a towering header from a corner five minutes into the second half.

Gareth Bale then spurned two good chances and it was left to hot-shot winger Asensio to put Real back in front with a strike across goal to complete a blistering counter-attack.

Ronaldo then looked to have sealed the win for Real with a net-busting strike from a tight angle in the 65th.

Substitute Sergio Leon pulled a goal back for Betis in the 85th minute to set up a tense finish but Real substitute Karim Benzema pounced in added time for Madrid's 13th goal in three games to seal the three points, leaving Betis in ninth.

Real have 45 points from 23 games, 17 behind runaway leaders Barcelona, although they can climb above Valencia into third place if they win their game in hand at Leganes on Wednesday.

Diego Simeone's Atletico side were made to fight for victory in a typically physical encounter with Bilbao but French forward Kevin Gameiro broke the Basque side's resolve in the 67th minute with a low finish into the far bottom corner.

Costa, who missed the 4-1 win at FC Copenhagen in the Europa League last 32 tie in midweek with a knock, was denied a penalty in the first half but sealed the win with a near-post finish in the 80th after latching on to a through ball from Gameiro.

The former Chelsea striker had been sent off for jumping into the stand to celebrate with Atletico fans after netting his last league goal against Getafe on January 6 and toned down his celebration this time as he had already been booked.


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