By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Real Madrid's 2-0 win at Athletic Bilbao now puts them seven points behind Barcelona.Real Madrid closed the gap on leaders Barcelona to seven points after a 2-0 win at struggling Athletic Bilbao.
Robinho and Raul Bravo scored the goals, which handed Real a lift after their Copa del Rey hammering at Real Zaragoza, while the result increases the prospect of Bilbao being relegated from La Liga for the first time in their history.
Real grabbed the opening goal after just five minutes when Robinho latched on to a superb pass from Zinedine Zidane to coolly slot beyond Bilbao keeper Inaki Lafuente.
A slip by Jonathan Woodgate allowed Ismael Urzaiz a sight at goal, but the veteran striker could only head straight at Iker Casillas.
After Casillas made a smart double save from two thumping shots, Robinho should have scored a second goal after being teed up by Ronaldo, only to skew his attempt off target.
Ronaldo was the provider for another Robinho chance on 36 minutes as the Brazilian striker nodded the ball into the path of his compatriot, whose volley was kept out by the legs of Lafuente.
Casillas then fumbled an Urzaiz shot from the edge of the area before Ronaldo bamboozled everybody with a string of step-overs before shooting straight at the Bilbao shot-stopper.
Early in the second half, Bilbao had a great chance to level when a deep free kick found Aritz Aduritz unmarked, but his attempted header struck his shoulder.
Rampaging wide man Cicinho had a good opportunity to wrap the game up 10 minutes from time, but he was thwarted by the legs of Lafuente.
In injury time, Real did put a seal on the victory when Julio Baptista fed Robinho, who rolled the ball across the face of goal to present Raul Bravo with a simple tap-in.
Real Zaragoza followed up their 6-1 thrashing of Real Madrid by holding high-flying Osasuna.
In their quest to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, Osasuna enjoyed the perfect start at home when Savo Milosevic scored after two minutes.
But Zaragoza pepped up their own European aspirations by claiming a 1-1 draw courtesy of Leo Ponzio's equaliser three minutes before half time.
Sevilla are also pressing for a Uefa Cup spot and they recorded an emphatic 4-0 success at Cadiz.
Javier Saviola put the visitors ahead after just five minutes and Antonio Puerta scored the second on 72 minutes.
In injury time, Sevilla scored twice - firstly through Kepa Blanco, and then through former Tottenham striker Fredi Kanoute.