Sports / Soccer

Real beats Sevilla 2-1 to increase Spanish league lead

(Agencies) Updated: 2015-02-05 15:32

Real beats Sevilla 2-1 to increase Spanish league lead

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale (C) and Raphael Varane (R) jump to head the ball during their Spanish first division soccer match against Real Sociedad at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, January 31, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

MADRID - Real Madrid held on to beat Sevilla 2-1 and increase its lead of the Spanish league on Wednesday despite a spate of injuries and not counting on suspended forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

In a match postponed from December for Madrid's participation in the Club World Cup, Madrid lost Sergio Ramos and James Rodriguez in an injury-plagued first half at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium that also claimed Sevilla goalkeeper Antonio "Beto" Bastos. Madrid also saw Marcelo pick up a fifth yellow card, meaning the pacesetter will be short-handed for Saturday's visit to defending champion Atletico Madrid.

Ramos clutched his left thigh and asked to be substituted in the eight minute. Rodriguez gave Madrid the 12th-minute lead before he too left after doctors examined with hurt right foot in the 25th.

Beto needed to be carried off following a violent collision with Karim Benzema in the 35th, and a minute later substitute Jese Rodriguez made it 2-0.

Dangerous early when Vicente Iborra hit the post down 1-0, Sevilla also mustered a late push and substitute Iago Aspas scored to keep the result in doubt for the final 10 minutes.

The win gave Madrid a four-point lead over Barcelona. Atletico trails by seven points in third place. Sevilla was left in fourth.

Ronaldo did not play as he completed the second of a two-game suspension for kicking a Cordoba player.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti, however, said he will likely be without several other of this first-choice players against Atletico with Rodriguez and Ramos set to join Luka Modric and Pepe on the injured list.

"Sure we are going to lose very important players, but I can't lament it because I have others," said Carlo Ancelotti. He said that the club would appeal Marcelo's booking.

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