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Oct 17, 2009

Raul has night to remember, Barca held

Record-breaking Real Madrid striker Raul helped Los Blancos return to winning ways with a brace in a hard-fought 4-2 victory over Real Valladolid in the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.

Raul had been presented with a trophy by Madrid president Florentino Perez just prior to kick-off for breaking Manuel Sanchis' club record of official appearances for the Spanish giants, and he marked the occasion with two more goals.

The veteran forward, who is also Madrid's all-time leading goalscorer, struck twice in the opening 18 minutes and Marcelo added a third before the break after Nauzet Aleman had scored a great freekick for the visitors.

Marquitos put Valladolid back in the game again early in the second half and they grew in confidence until Argentine substitute Gonzalo Higuain lobbed Valladolid goalkeeper Jacobo in a one-on-one 11 minutes from time.

Manuel Pellegrini's side, who were without injured forward Cristiano Ronaldo, had suffered their first defeat of the campaign away to Sevilla last time out and never really impressed against their 17th-placed opponents.

Barcelona saw their Primera Liga lead cut to a solitary point by Madrid as they were held to a goalless draw by Valencia at the Mestalla - and they will be relieved to have escaped with that result.

Pablo Hernandez went close from his own half and strike partner Juan Mata missed a host of chances, while David Silva was denied by Victor Valdes from the best opportunity of the match.

"Valencia have very good players and a very good coach and caused us a lot of problems," Barca coach Pep Guardiola told reporters. "We have to be happy with the point."

Rodriguez Pedrito and Yaya Toure threatened for Barca, but they will be happy to take a share of the spoils and remain a point ahead of arch-rivals Madrid,

Juan Rodriguez's spectacular strike gave Deportivo Coruna a surprise 1-0 home win over Sevilla.

Manolo Jimenez's Sevilla had won five matches in a row since losing at Valencia on the opening day and many consider them to be a good outside bet for the title following their impressive 2-1 win over Real Madrid prior to the international break.

But Rodriguez lashed in a shot from well outside the area in the 38th minute, and Deportivo's well-organised defence kept the visitors at bay to make it 15 points from seven games for the Galicians.

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