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Sevilla Rises, Madrid Falls Prior to Winter Break

FC Sevilla ended 2005 in triumphant style by blitzing Deportivo La Coruna 4-0 at home, extending its lead atop the La Liga to four points. Second-place FC Barcelona has two games in hand, the first of which was to played Thursday against Atletico Madrid. Goals from league leading scorer Freddy Kanoute (2), Luis Fabiano and Daniel Alves secured an easy victory for the Andalucians. Sevilla will enter 2007 in first place, though Barcelona will have a game in hand. Real Madrid, meanwhile, stumbled, as Recreativo Huelva made the Spanish giant's usually reliable defense look ordinary. Fabio Cannavaro, the World and European Player of the Year, was the main culprit, committing two schoolboy errors leading to Recreativo goals. Cannavaro lost his balance on the first goal as striker Florent Sinama-Pongolle slipped past the Italy captain, who made a failed swipe at the ball, to fire past Real keeper Iker Casillas from close range. His second error was particularly egregious: off-balance again, Cannavaro tried to contain Ikechukwu Uche on the left side, but the Nigerian easily pushed the ball into space on his right side to fire low and hard past Casillas at the near post. Hardly the kind of defending you'd expect from your World Player of the Year. Recre added a third just before time to make it 3-0. "We didn't look the same team that played Espanyol over the weekend." Madrid coach Fabio Capello said. The whole team was nonexistent."

Read the whole story at Associated Press »

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