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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb, 25, 2008

Real lament naivety as defeat brings Barca closer

MADRID, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Real Madrid's players were furious with themselves after making a foolish mistake that gifted Getafe a 1-0 win at the Bernabeu to further erode their advantage at the top of the Primera Liga on Sunday.

When winger Arjen Robben thought he had scored for Real midway through the second half, a large number of players ran to the corner to celebrate with him despite the fact that the linesman's flag was up and the referee had not awarded a goal.

Raul had been in an offside position in the build up to the goal and Getafe saw their chance.

Visiting defender David Belenguer took a quick free kick to launch a four-against-two counter-attack that ended with Nigeria striker Ikechukwu Uche beating Iker Casillas. It was Real's first home defeat in the league this season.

'They have scored a goal against us like in a match for four-year-olds,' Real midfielder Guti told reporters afterwards. 'We can't afford to lose games in this way.'

Real sports director Predrag Mijatovic said Getafe should have been called back.

'The referee could have stopped the move because we had a lot of players celebrating. Perhaps, in these circumstances, he should have stopped play,' he told Canal Plus television.

Getafe president Angel Torres disagreed. 'Football is for the smart ones. To say Real lost because of the referee is laughable because the whole of Spain saw what happened on the television.'

The defeat means second-placed Barcelona, who hammered bottom club Levante 5-1 at the Nou Camp, are now just two points behind the leaders.

Real have let slip a nine-point lead since the end of January with three defeats from their last four league games, while Barca appear to be gathering a head of steam.

The return from the African Nations Cup of Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o, who netted a hat-trick against Levante, and Lionel Messi's recovery from injury have been key to their resurgence. The Argentina forward scored one and set up two on Sunday.

'Of course the league is wide open. Barcelona hold their destiny in their own hands now but so do we. We will keep on fighting,' said Real coach Bernd Schuster.

'Things are happening to us in games that we don't deserve but we need to look forward. We need to prove we are a team in the good times and now.'

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