Raul record as Real close in
Real Madrid's captain Raul joined Alfredo di Stefano as the club's all-time leading scorer with 307 goals, as he helped his team cut Barcelona's lead to nine points. Raul, 31, scored his historic goal in the 48th minute of the 2-0 win at Numancia, following in after Gonzalo Higuain's shot had been parried. Dutch winger Arjen Robben scored a great individual goal on 56 minutes to clinch Real's sixth successive league win.
Barcelona are at Racing Santander today aiming to stretch their 19-game unbeaten league run.
Raul has spent 14 years in the Real first team and after becoming the youngest player to reach 500 league games for the club in January, the number seven reached another personal landmark on Saturday. He also has every club medal to his name with three Champions League crowns (1998, 2000 and 2002) and five Spanish championships (1995, 1997, 2001, 2003 and 2007). Raul is also the leading scorer in the history of the Champions League with 66 goals.
Numancia had already beaten Barcelona at home this season and were looking for a famous double over the two biggest teams in Spain. Real had conceded just once in their last five league matches, but Numancia went close twice with Javier del Pino heading against the post and Gorka Brit shooting wide from a slim angle.
Real soaked up the pressure and were transformed in the second half as Raul grabbed his history-making goal. Robben then twisted the Numancia defence inside out before applying a class finish. Thereafter there was to be but one winner, even when Real midfielder Fernando Gago was sent off for a second caution late on.
Barcelona, who reached the semi-finals of the King's Cup in midweek, must now respond against Racing as the treble dream goes on. "If it was that easy to win the treble, we'd have done it several times over our 109 years of history, but it hasn't been like that. Things are not that easy," said coach Pep Guardiola.
Barcelona will face Real Mallorca in the last four of the cup and are strong favourites to lift the trophy. Holders Valencia were dumped out by Sevilla and hope to bounce back with victory over Almeria. Valencia sit fourth, four points behind their cup conquerors who travel to Sporting Gijon on the same day.
Athletic Bilbao followed up their midweek Kings Cup heroics with an inspirational 3-2 comeback win over high-flying Malaga. Bilbao reached the semi-finals of the cup on Wednesday with a 2-1 victory over Sporting Gijon and rounded off a memorable week by ending Malaga's six-match unbeaten run in the league.
"This team has an inner belief that they can come back when they are behind," said coach Joaquin Caparros. "Let's see if we can keep up these individual and collective performances and go on like this."
Malaga twice went ahead through Albert Luque - back in his homeland again after a tumultuous two years at Newcastle - and Manuel Lolo, but substitute Markael Susaeta produced the 86th minute winner. Bilbao climb to ninth with the victory and are suddenly challenging for a European spot, in contrast to just a month ago when they looked set to be involved in the relegation dogfight. The cup, where they face Sevilla in the semi-final, also offers Bilbao hope of their first piece of silverware since winning a league and cup double back in 1984.
Malaga stay seventh, rueing a missed opportunity to go into the top four.