Real close the gap
Real Madrid reduced Barcelona's lead at the top of La Liga to three points after a 2-1 win at Almeria.
Last Updated: 15/04/10 9:00pm
Real Madrid reduced Barcelona's lead at the top of La Liga to three points, but they had it far from their own way as they were forced to come from behind to win 2-1 at Almeria.
Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Rafael van der Vaart either side of half-time cancelled out Albert Crusat's opener as Real responded to their weekend defeat to Barca, who defeated Deportivo on Wednesday.
However, while last season's runners-up will know that all that mattered was the three points, they will also be aware that they were forced to work a lot harder than they wanted against their 13th-placed opponents.
Real manager Manuel Pellegrini, whose future has been the subject of mass sack-speculation, will have been pleased with the manner in which his side started, as Ronaldo forced a tidy save from Diego Alvez with a trademark free-kick.
But Real found themselves behind in the 14th minute when Kalu Uche held off Sergio Ramos to cross low from the byline and leave Crusat with the simple task of tapping in.
Real were stunned, however, they were only behind for 11 minutes as Ronaldo, fresh from denying party allegations in the wake of the Barca defeat, equalised with a left-footed finish from close range after beating three Almeria defenders.
The home side should have regained the lead before half-time, but one-time Fulham target Uche unsuccessfully attempted a back-heeled flick from Crusat's centre when stood almost on the goalline.
Real, though, were dominant after the break and Alvez was called upon to deny Ronaldo and Marcelo.
Pellegrini's side continued to put their hosts under intense pressure and they eventually got their reward in the 69th minute when Van der Vaart fired into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
But the defensive fragilities that have marred Real's season remained throughout and Uche was guilty of missing several chances as Almeria's visitors left with three points.