Raul equals Di Stefano record, Real score sixth win
Real Madrid scored their sixth straight win in the Spanish Liga on Saturday, 2-0 away to lowly Numancia, dpa reported.
Real's first goal was put away by veteran captain Raul, who equalled Alfredo Di Stefano's record of 307 goals for the legendary club.
Raul struck four minutes into the second half. Man-of-the-match Arjen Robben fed Gonzalo Higuain down the left, Numancia keeper Juan Pablo dropped Higuain's shot - and Raul stabbed home the rebound in trademark opportunistic fashion.
Numancia had dominated the first half in chilly Soria, and midfielder Javier del Pino had hit the Real post with a header.
However, Juande Ramos' visitors came out for the second half with more ambition and Raul quickly gave them the lead. Eight minutes later Robben skipped inside from the right and made it 2-0 with a low left-foot drive.
Real had midfielder Fernando Gago sent off 11 minutes from time, but still looked comfortable against opponents without imagination or penetration in attack.
The latest defeat leaves Numancia fourth from bottom and facing a tough relegation struggle.
Real, in contrast, are now nine points behind record-breaking leaders Barcelona, who are away to Racing Santander on Sunday.
Ramos' side are six points above third-placed Sevilla, who are away to Sporting Gijon on Sunday.
"It was not an easy game," said Real's Sergio Ramos, "but we showed character and ability here tonight."
Earlier on Saturday, Real had presented to the media new signing Julien Faubert, who has come on a five-month loan from English club West Ham United.
In Saturday's early match, Athletic Bilbao scored a dramatic late 3-2 home win over Malaga.
Victory in San Mames would have taken Malaga up to fourth and they took the lead twice, only to collapse in the final minutes.
Bilbao were given a warm reception in San Mames because of Wednesday's cup win away to Sporting Gijon. They face Sevilla in the quarter-finals next week.
Former Spain striker Albert Luque gave Malaga the lead after just four minutes, only for Fran Yeste to level for the hosts with his trusty left foot just before half-time.
Lolo restored Malaga's lead in the 64th minute, but Bilbao brushed aside their fatigue to lay siege to the visitors' goal. Spain forward Fernando Llorente made it 2-2 in the 72nd minute, the promising Markel Susaeta grabbed the winner just three minutes from time.
"Things are going well for us right now," said Llorente.
"It's that kind of period," he added, "when you just cannot wait for the next game to come around."
The late win takes Bilbao - the only team in a major European league to have no foreign players - up to ninth, three points behind Malaga.