La Liga round-up
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Real Madrid turned up the title heat on Barcelona by beating Villarreal 2-1.Real Madrid turned up the title heat on Barcelona by overcoming the hindrance of nine men to beat Villarreal 2-1 at El Santiago Bernabeu.
Juan Roman Riquelme, on loan at Villarreal from Barcelona, put the visitors ahead with a disputed penalty before Ronaldo equalised in the second half.
Walter Samuel was dismissed for a second yellow card on 72 minutes but, two minutes later, Michel Salgado of all people popped up to score a crucial winner before Zinedine Zidane was sent off in injury time for putting his hands in the face of Quique Alvarez as the match concluded on a stormy note.
In an open first half at the Bernabeu, chances were at a premium but Real should have taken the lead on the half-hour following a delightful move.
David Beckham played the ball to Ronaldo, who controlled and slipped a sumptuous return pass to the England captain but he lacked composure with his finish and dragged a powerful shot wide.
On 38 minutes, Villarreal were presented with the lead in controversial circumstances after Francisco Pavon was harshly adjudged to have fouled Diego Forlan.
Up stepped Riquelme to smash home his spot kick down the middle of the goal as he shrugged off the attentions of Roberto Carlos who, bizarrely, was almost alongside the Argentina as he struck the penalty.
Real should have been level just two minutes after the interval when the industrious Beckham whipped in a free kick but Walter Samuel headed wide when unmarked 10 yards from goal.
The action was swinging from end to end and Iker Casillas had to race out of his goal to block Forlan's shot after the Manchester United flop was played in by Juan Pablo Sorin.
The hosts demanded a disputed penalty of their own when Roberto Carlos' thumping volley made Armando Sa's arm wobble but there was little the defender could do to evade the shot.
Villarreal should have put the game to bed on 57 minutes after Riquelme sprang the offside trap to run clear on goal. But, rather than shoot, he opted to tee up Forlan, only to force the Uruguayan wide, with the resultant effort rippling the side-netting.
On 69 minutes, Real did draw level courtesy of the brilliance of Zidane. The French legend showed great skill to bamboozle the Villarreal defence before clipping a cross to the far post for Ronaldo to head home from close range.
But two minutes later Real were reduced to ten men after Samuel picked up his second yellow card for a seemingly innocuous challenge on Jose Mari, who then blasted a good chance wide. Real, though, forged in front on 74 minutes through an unlikely source. Ronaldo dusted himself down after trying to hoodwink the referee and played a perfect pass for Salgado who steered home from the edge of the area for just the fourth goal of his Bernabeu career.
Osasuna repeated their Copa del Rey success over Atletico Madrid when the two teams clashed in La Liga.
Earlier in the week, Osasuna had poached a 1-0 advantage in the semi-final, first leg and the scoreline was the same when they met in the league.
John Aloisi grabbed the only goal after just four minutes when the former Coventry City striker headed home a cross from Ludovic Delporte.
The hosts were reduced to ten men with nine minutes remaining when Carlos Cuellar was dismissed but Atletico were unable to take advantage of their numerical superiority.