Mourinho home run ends as Sporting stun Real

MADRID, April 2, 2011 (AFP) - Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho saw his infamous 150 game league home record come to an end with unfashionable Sporting Gijon defeating his Real side 1-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday to put a huge dent in their title hopes.

AFP - Jose Mourinho reacts during the match Real Madrid vs Sporting Gijon on April 2, 2011

Miguel de las Cuevas stunned Real with a 78th minute winner as Mourinho lost his first home league match in over nine years with his last loss back in February 2002 when his FC Porto side lost 3-2 at home to Beira Mar.

Real, who had won their previous 14 home league matches this season, stay five points behind arch rivals Barcelona in the Spanish first division and the champions can open that advantage to eight points with victory at Villarreal later on Saturday.

"Mathematically the league is not over but if the gap goes to eight points it is practically impossible (to win the title)," said Mourinho. "Luck is a part of football and our opponents had it all, while we didn't have any.

"We had Cristiano (Ronaldo), Marcelo, (Karim) Benzema and Xabi (Alonso) missing and had to play a bit more direct tonight. We had lots of goalscoring chances from two or three metres but they just didn't go in."

The return of Argentine international forward Gonzalo Higuain, out of action with a back problem since late November, was the only positive on a terrible night for Real, who must pick themselves up for Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg against Tottenham Hotspur at the Bernabeu.

Madrid were without top-scorer Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Marcelo through injury and spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso was also missing through suspension.

In the first minute after Portuguese centre-back Ricardo Carvalho had the ball in the net, however, the effort was ruled out for a foul.

Sporting had the better chances in a disappointing first half with Andre Castro firing just over on 35 minutes after a training ground routine from a corner kick.

A mix-up between Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas and his defenders almost allowed Nacho Novo to score, but the hosts averted the danger.

The big sides often struggle after the exertion of international games and Madrid were lacklustre but started the second half with some much-needed urgency.

Mourinho acted in the 56th minute introducing Argentine striker Higuain, who had not played since November 20 due to back trouble that saw him undergo surgery in January.

Just three minutes after coming on Higuain, who scored the winning goal in the 1-0 win at Gijon, had a clear opening but his fierce shot was straight at the goalkeeper.

Real were pressing but then conceded a shock goal with de las Cuevas receiving a cut back on 78 minutes and the former Atletico Madrid man drilled a low shot past Casillas.

On 82 minutes Khedira somehow failed to equalise metres from goal as Sporting breathed a huge sigh of relief while Mourinho was left visibly furious on the touchline.

Emmanuel Adebayor and Higuain missed chances in a frantic finale as Sporting held on to become the first team to win at the Bernabeu this season and end Mourinho's historic home run.

In other matches, Valencia striker Roberto Soldado bagged a second half quadruple to down his old club Getafe as Valencia came from a goal down to win 4-2 on Saturday and move above Villarreal into third.

Manu del Moral had put Getafe into a 12th minute lead but Soldado, who joined Valencia from Getafe for 10 million euros in the summer, had a sensational second half scoring a 20-minute hat-trick (46, 64, 66) before adding his fourth on 77 minutes.

Champions Barcelona travel to Villarreal, now three points behind Valencia, later on Saturday in the standout fixture of the weekend.

Barcelona dropped two crucial points in their last away outing with a 1-1 draw at Sevilla and the pacesetters will be desperate for three points to capitalise on Real's slip against Gijon before the two teams meet on the weekend of April 16/17.

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