Raul, Ruud strike as Real surprise Barca

Madrid, October 23:

Raul Gonzalez and Ruud van Nistelrooy scored a goal each on Sunday to give Real Madrid a 2-0 win over FC Barcelona, ending the defending champions’ unbeaten start to the Spanish league season.

Madrid, with 14 points, now trails leader Barcelona and Valencia by two points after the win. Barcelona, which went into the game after a 1-0 loss at Chelsea in the Champions League, fell behind after only three minutes. Raul jumped and headed in Sergio Ramos’ cross from the right.

The European champions then took control until the interval and would have equalized with better marksmanship from Eidur Gudjohnsen and Lionel Messi midway through the half. The team’s leading scorer, Samuel Eto’o, is sidelined until February with an injury.

Barcelona began pressing at the start of the second half but was killed off by a second goal in the 51st following a swift counterattack involving Van Nistelrooy, Robinho and Jose Maria “Guti” Gutierrez. Nistelrooy reached the Brazilian’s pass ahead of Valdes and sidefooted a volley home for his fourth goal of the season.

Madrid’s win was achieved without suspended striker Ronaldo and injured right back Michel Salgado.

Also, it was: Valencia 1, Osasuna 0; Sevilla 2, Gimnastic Tarragona 1; Mallorca 0, Real Sociedad 0; Recreativo Huelva 1, Getafe 2; Athletic Bilbao 0, Celta Vigo 1; and Espanyol 2, Racing Santander 2.

Sevilla is in third place with 15 points, one more than Madrid and Deportivo La Coruna. Zaragoza, Atletico and Getafe have 13 points each.

Italian Serie A

ROME: Palermo moved into first place in the Serie A after beating AC Milan 2-0 on Sunday. Mark Bresciano slipped past Alessandro Nesta to score Palermo’s first goal in the 48th minute and Amauri added the other in the 73rd off a rebound.

Palermo improved to 15 points, ahead of Inter Milan on goals scored. Inter was held to a 0-0 draw by Udinese. Roma is third with 13 points following a 1-1 draw with visiting Chievo Verona, which is under the direction of Luigi Del Neri again. Sergio Pellissier put Chievo ahead in the 41st on a play that appeared to be offsides, and Roma captain Francesco Totti equalized in the 66th.

Also, Livorno and Siena played to a 0-0 draw in a Tuscan derby with goals for both sides annulled. Fiorentina’s 3-0 win over Reggina put both clubs at minus-7 points. Fiorentina began the season with a 19-point penalty and Reggina started at minus-15.

Adrian Mutu, Mario Santana and Manuele Blasi scored for Fiorentina.

Atalanta trailed Sampdoria 2-0 after 11 minutes and came back with two penalties by Cristiano Doni and an 89th-minute winner by Riccardo Zampagna in a 3-2 victory. Giuseppe Colucci scored twice as Catania beat Lazio 3-1.

Parma beat Ascoli 1-0 for its first win of the season on a ninth-minute goal by striker Igor Budan.