Four-goal Higuain puts ten-man Real Madrid on top

Other News Materials 9 November 2008 02:05 (UTC +04:00)

Real Madrid went to the top of the Spanish Liga on Saturday, albeit temporarily, with an epic ten-man 4-3 home win over midtable Malaga, dpa reported.

Real needed four goals from the in-form Gonzalo Higuain and one from to break the resistance of Malaga, who took the lead three times in the Estadio Bernabeu.

Bernd Schuster's injury-hit side had to play with 10 men from the 44th minute onwards, thanks to the sending-off of Euro 2008 hero Sergio Ramos.

The rocky win leaves Real with 23 points from 10 games, one point more than Barcelona and two more than third-placed Villarreal.

Barca will regain top spot later on Saturday if, as expected, they beat lowly Valladolid at home.

"This is the kind of game in which we show our fighting spirit," said Real veteran Michel Salgado.

Eliseu Pereira gave Malaga an early lead, only for Higuain to quickly equalize. Nabil Baha restored Malaga's lead, only for Higuain to make it 2-2 from the penalty spot, after a clumsy handball by Robson Weligton.

The first half finished with the out-of-form Ramos being sent off.

Malaga got a penalty off their own in the 70th minute, converted by Antonio Apono. But Higuain struck again immediately to make it 3-3.

12 minutes from time Higuain was given a dubious penalty after taking a blatant dive. His spot-kick was saved by Francesc Arnau - but the rampant Argentine volleyed home the winner.

Higuain's four goals give him a total of nine, and leave him just one goal behind Valencia's David Villa in the scorers' chart.

Malaga left the field complaining, Real left celebrating a spirited but lucky win.