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Raul rediscovers scoring form at Real Madrid
by Paul Kennedy, December 3rd, 2007 9:15AM

TAGS:  argentina, brazil


[INTERNATIONAL HEADLINERS] Raul continued his scoring spree with two goals for La Liga leader Real Madrid. Arsenal held on to the top spot in the EPL after being tested in both halves at Aston Villa. Lanus won its first Argentine championship, while giant Corinthians was condemned to relegation in a controversial end to the Brazilian season.

Raul scored two goals to lead Real Madrid to a 3-1 win over Racing Santander on Saturday and give him eight league goals for the season -- one more than he scored all last season.

The 30-year-old Raul has scored 196 goals in 14 seasons with the Merengues, but he only scored 21 goals in the three previous seasons.

The win gave Real Madrid a four-point lead over Villarreal, which lost at Valladolid, 2-0, on Sunday, and Barcelona, which drew at Espanyol, 1-1.

Arsenal has dominated in most of its wins during its 14-game unbeaten streak (11 wins and three ties) to start the 2007-08 English Premier League season, but Saturday's 2-1 win at Aston Villa was an important test, according to Gunners manager Arsene Wenger.

After Arsenal took a 2-1 lead in the first half -- Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill says the Gunners taught his team "a footballing lesson" with their attacking play -- it held on in the second half after facing a Villa onslaught.

"We passed the test well," said Wenger. "We were tested twice: in the first half we were 1-0 down and we came back to lead. In the second we were confronted with a very physical game, and we passed the test. The squad have come out today with greater belief."

Suburban Buenos Aires club Lanus won its first Argentine championship in its 92-history when it gained a 1-1 tie at Boca Juniors to clinch the Torneo Apertura title.

Striker Jose Sand outjumped the Boca defense to score on a header late in the first half for his 15th goal of the championship for Lanus. Boca had several chances before Martin Palermo equalized in the 67th minute.

Lanus finished with a four-point lead over Tigre, which lost at Argentinos Juniors, 1-0, and a seven-point advantage on Boca.

A penalty taken three times on Sunday determined the outcome of the relegation race in Brazil's Campeonato Brasileiro, and condemned Corinthians, one of giants of Brazilian soccer, to 17th place in the 20-team Campeonato Brasileiro and relegation to Serie B.

Corinthians, which could only manage a 1-1 tie at Gremio, was overtaken by Goias, which beat Internacional, 2-1. Internacional keeper Clemer twice denied Paulo Baier from the penalty spot, but the referee judged the goalkeeper moved each time and, on the third occasion, Elson stepped up and scored the winner for Goias.

Corinthians joined Juventude, Parana and America-Natal into Serie B next season. Sao Paulo had clinched the title with four games to spare. Relegation came almost exactly three years after Corinthians signed a controversial partnership deal with London-based Media Sports Investments (MSI) that touched off a wild spending spree. The partnership collapsed, and Corinthians was forced to rely on minor-league signings.


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