First Division - Day 1

Real Madrid 1 - Murcia 0

Madrid: Casillas; Miguel Torres, Pepe, Heinze, Marcelo; Gago, Guti (Diarra 86'); Robinho (Michel Salgado 61'), Sneijder (Drenthe 79'), Robben; Raúl. 4-2-3-1.
Murcia: Carini; Pignol (Movilla 60'), César Arzo, Cuadrado, Peña; Pina, Marañon; De Lucas (Rosinei 57'), Kabous, Dani Aquino (Jofre 65'); Iván Alonso. 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Madrid: Miguel Torres, Pepe, Robinho for Sergio Ramos, Cannavaro, Higuaín / Murcia: Pina, Marañon for Mejía, Abel.

1-0. 59. Sneijder. Picked up ball on edge of area and curled shot past Carini.

Reigning champions Real Madrid closed in on another league title after they beat Murcia 1-0 to open up a nine point gap at the top. Bernd Schuster's side were not expected to have too many problems against a team which have never won in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, but they were left with a man short when Miguel Torres was sent off by referee Iturralde González for a foul on Dani Aquino in only the twentieth minute.

Iturralde was clearly going to be a hard man to convince, the veteran ref booking Guti for diving when he fell under a challenge in the area, and waving away subsequent penalty appeals by Aquino, Goitom and Heinze. Robinho, back in favour with Schuster, shot wide, and Carini saved well from Gago before the break.

Murcia were unable to take advantage of the extra man though, and other than the possible penalties they hardly created problems for the local defence. And with an hour on the clock Sneijder picked up a loose ball after Raúl headed on a long throw and curled a shot wide of Carini to win the match. It was a blow for Clemente, and his team now find themselves eight points away from safety. Madrid though are forging ahead, and after Barcelona and Villarreal both failed to win the title is theirs for the taking.