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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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Alonso: Clasico win not definitive blow

Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso insisted there is still work to be done in the Primera Division title race after helping his side beat Barcelona 2-1 to move seven points clear at the top of the table.

Saturday night's Clasico was billed by many as the Spanish championship-decider and it was Real celebrating a victory that puts them on the brink of a first league title triumph in four years.

Goals from Sami Khedira and Cristiano Ronaldo either side of an Alexis Sanchez equaliser handed Jose Mourinho's side a vital win, but Alonso is not convinced that it is the decisive result in the race for La Liga.

"It's a major blow but not definitive," Alonso told Canal +. "It is an important step and now we have to complete the job."

Alonso was delighted with Real's first Clasico victory since last year's Copa del Rey final, but said that he and his team-mates will not dwell on the victory, with a huge Champions League semi-final second leg showdown with Bayern Munich coming up next week.

"We controlled the game to perfection," Alonso said. "[But] Now we have another important game on Wednesday."

Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas, though, said his side had taken a ''giant step'' towards landing the Primera Division crown.

''We played as a team,'' goalkeeper Casillas told his side's official website. ''Cristiano did a fine job but all 11 did well. We played well as a team from the beginning.

''We worked well from start to finish although we suffered when they equalised. But we responded and got the win.''

The title race appears all but over with Casillas confirming: ''Although there are still points at stake and we must be respectful, we have taken a giant step.''

Barca boss Pep Guardiola was gracious in defeat and conceded the title was Bernabeu-bound.

''I want to congratulate Madrid for the win and for the league they are going to win,'' he said in remarks reported by the AS newspaper.

Guardiola appeared to prioritise Tuesday's Champions League semi-final second leg against Chelsea - they go into the return 1-0 down - by dropping Cesc Fabregas to the bench and starting with Cristian Tello. And it backfired with the youngster missing a couple of excellent chances.

''Maybe I was wrong, leaving out Cesc,'' he said. ''But what I can say is that Tello had a fantastic match in defence and attack. We played with many young players and that is very good news.''

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