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Real Madrid maintain ‘chase’ of Barcelona Alonso has perforated eardrum

MADRID, Dec 23, (AFP): Real Madrid shrugged off the loss of the injured Gareth Bale as they beat Valencia 3-2 on Sunday to move back to within five points of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga. Barcelona were also victors on Sunday as an eight-minute hat-trick from Pedro Rodriguez helped them come from 2-0 down to win 5-2 away at Getafe. Bale’s replacement Angel di Maria put Madrid in front with a fine left-footed drive on 28 minutes, but Pablo Piatti headed home an equaliser for the hosts six minutes later. Cristiano Ronaldo then headed home Di Maria’s free-kick put Madrid back in front five minutes before half-time, only for Valencia to level once more when Jeremy Mathieu met Dani Parejo’s corner.

However, Madrid were not to be denied as substitute Jese Rodriguez grabbed the winner with a low drive that beat Vicente Guaita at his near post 10 minutes from time. With Bale sidelined for a second consecutive game by a calf injury, Di Maria had another chance to impress and made his presence felt in style as he controlled Marcelo’s cross-field pass before firing past Guaita into the far corner. Valencia, buoyed by the news earlier in the day that Singaporean businessman Peter Lim may be on the verge of taking over the club, responded almost immediately as the diminutive Piatti found space inside the area to head home Juan Bernat’s cross. Madrid were back in front six minutes later in somewhat controversial circumstances as Ronaldo’s goal was allowed to stand despite the Portuguese appearing to be slightly offside as Di Maria delivered a free-kick from wide on the right.

The hosts were level once again, though, just after the hour mark when Mathieu outjumped Sergio Ramos to flick home Parejo’s corner. However, Madrid found the goal they desperately needed to get their title hopes alive as Luka Modric picked out Jese inside the area and his fiercely driven effort slipped through the grasp of Guaita. Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso suffered a perforated left eardrum when he took a knock in Sunday’s game against Valencia, the club said Monday. “After undergoing medical tests it has been found that Xabi Alonso has a perforated left eardrum as a result of a blow received in the match against Valencia,” said a club medical report released online. Real Madrid gave no details on Alonso’s outlook beyond the fact it depended on the player’s progress. Perforated eardrums usually heal on their own within two months but surgery is sometimes performed in severe cases.

Singaporean businessman Peter Lim has made a bid to take over financially stricken La Liga side Valencia and wipe out its debts, the club’s president Amadeo Salvo announced on Sunday. The club’s hierarchy has been looking for investors since principal creditor Bankia refused earlier this month to refinance the combined 306 million euro ($418 million, ¬£256 million) debt the club and its foundation has with the bank. Salvo said that Bankia had still to give the green light to Lim’s proposal and had asked for more time to study other offers. However, he insisted that given the 60-year-old is willing to clear the club’s debts and invest heavily in the playing squad, Lim’s would be a difficult offer to match. “He has made us a proposal that will clear the debt owed by the foundation and Valencia to Bankia and will invest a significant amount in the first team immediately,” said Salvo. “It is one of the best two or three biggest offers made for a club in world football.”

    P    W    D    L    GF    GA    Pts
Barcelona    17    15    1    1    49    12    46
Atletico    17    15    1    1    46    11    46
Real Madrid    17    13    2    2    49    21    41
Athletic Bilbao    17    10    3    4    26    21    33
Real Sociedad    17    8    5    4    33    23    29
Villarreal    17    8    4    5    27    18    28
Sevilla    17    7    5    5    32    29    26
Getafe    17    7    2    8    20    27    23
Espanyol    17    6    4    7    22    23    22
Malaga    17    5    5    7    19    22    20
Valencia    17    6    2    9    23    29    20
Granada    17    6    2    9    15    22    20
Levante    17    5    5    7    17    25    20
Elche    17    4    5    8    16    23    17
Celta Vigo    17    4    4    9    21    27    16
Almeria    17    4    4    9    17    32    16
Valladolid    17    3    6    8    21    29    15
Osasuna    17    5    3    10    14    28    15
Rayo Vallecano    17    4    1    12    16    40    13
Real Betis    17    2    4    11    15    36    10
Note: Standings read as played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points.

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