|First Division - Day 8|
Real Madrid 3 - Athletic Bilbao 2
Michel Salgado, Pepe, Heinze, Marcelo; Sneijder (Diarrà 77'), Gago, Van
der Vaart (Guti 59'); Higuaín, Raúl (Saviola 88'), Robben. 4-3-3.
Team changes: Madrid: Michel Salgado, Heinze, Van der Vaart, Robben for Sergio Ramos, Cannavaro, De la Red, Van Nistelrooy / Athletic: Etxeberría for Garmendia.
Yellow cards: Salgado 19', Pepe 36', Sneijder 45', Etxeberría 45', Marcelo 45', Orbaiz 63', Llorente 88' / red cards: Amorebieta 77'.
Real Madrid moved up to third, level with Barcelona on points, after a 3-2 victory over Athletic Bilbao in the last match on Sunday evening. Higuaín had a goal ruled out for a dubious offside before Sneijder picked up a pass from Heinze to open the scoring. And the Dutch midfielder hit the post before his fellow countryman Van der Vaart set up Higuaín to make it two with just under half an hour gone.
The Basque side seemed out of it, but Etxeberría got one back after running on to Yeste's pass, and on the stroke of half time referee Alvarez Izquierdo awarded a hotly disputed penalty which Iraola converted to level the scores.
Madrid bounced back after the break though, Higuaín and Heinze both rattling the woodwork before Higuaín ran on to Gago's long pass to restore the lead. Bernd Schuster's side were lucky to still have eleven players on the park after the referee pardoned red cards for Marcelo and Salgado, but with a quarter of an hour to go he did produce a red card for Athletic's Amorebieta for a foul on Higuaín.
Even so the visitors could have saved a point when Llorente crashed a long shot against the post. But it was not to be, and Joaquín Caparrós's side ended the weekend down in the relegation spots after a fourth defeat in a row.