Sports / Soccer

Real keeps heat on Barca after Almeria stroll

(Agencies) Updated: 2015-04-30 10:20

Real keeps heat on Barca after Almeria stroll

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (R) and Almeria's Joaquin Navarro fight for the ball during their Spanish first division soccer match at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, April 29, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]


MADRID - Real Madrid kept alive their hopes of overhauling La Liga leaders Barcelona when a James Rodriguez stunner set up a serene 3-0 home victory over struggling Almeria on Wednesday.

Barca, chasing a fifth Spanish league title in seven years, thrashed Getafe 6-0 at the Nou Camp on Tuesday and have a two-point advantage over their arch-rivals with four matches remaining.

Champions Atletico Madrid stayed on course to secure third place and an automatic spot in the Champions League when Fernando Torres came off the bench and scored a thrilling breakaway goal to clinch a 1-0 win at Villarreal.

Torres nicked the ball away from a defender near the halfway line 16 minutes from time, sped towards the penalty area and rounded goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo before slotting into the net.

Barca have 84 points, with Real on 82 and Atletico 75, six ahead of Sevilla, who won 3-1 at La Liga debutants Eibar to climb above Valencia into fourth.

Valencia can reclaim Spain's fourth Champions League berth, which carries a place in qualifying for Europe's elite club competition, if they avoid defeat at mid-table Rayo Vallecano on Thursday.

Almeria held out until the stroke of halftime at the Bernabeu when Rodriguez pounced on a loose ball and lashed a shot into the top corner from just outside the penalty area.

The European champions, depleted by injuries, doubled their lead soon after halftime when Mauro Dos Santos diverted the ball into his own net under pressure from La Liga top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo.

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