Real Madrid squeak through Sevilla to maintain 4-point league lead

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MADRID. KAZINFORM - Real Madrid paid high price but moved four points clear of FC Barcelona and seven ahead of neighbors Atletico at the top of Spanish La Liga table after a nervy 2-1 win at home to Sevilla on Wednesday.

First half goals from James Rodriguez and Jese Rodriguez put Real Madrid 2-1 ahead after halftime and their side was able to hold on for a tense last 10 minutes after Iago Aspes got Sevilla back into the game. The bad news for Madrid is that James and Sergio Ramos are now injury doubts for Saturday's derby away to Atletico Madrid, while Marcelo is suspended after being booked during the game. Both sides made changes from their games at the weekend with Alvaro Arbeloa and Sami Khedira in the Real Madrid starting 11, while Sevilla had several players out through injury. The injury lists had grew before the halftime whistle, with Ramos and James Rodriguez leaving the pitch injured for Real Madrid and Sevilla goalkeeper, Beto carried off after colliding with Real Madrid striker, Karim Benzema. Beto had to be taken to hospital as the result of a knock to his head, while Ramos suffered a muscle injury and James a problem with his foot. Before leaving the pitch James had put his side ahead with his second goal in two games after just 12 minutes, although Vicente Iborra should have levelled the score just after the quarter hour. Following Beto's injury he was replaced by Sergio Rico, but Rico's first task was to pick the ball out of his net. Carlos Bacca lost the ball in the Sevilla attack and with the visitors caught on the wrong foot, Gareth Bale and Alvaro Arbeloa combined to set up Jese Rodriguez, who has replaced James to score his first league goal after overcoming the knee injury he suffered last year. Benzema almost made it 3-0 but squeezed a shot just wide after another attack down the Madrid right. Jese hit the most for Real Madrid five minutes after the break, while Iborra had another bad miss shortly afterwards to have brought his side back into the game. Iago Apes, who had netted his first league goal for the club at the weekend, finally got Sevilla on the scoresheet with 10 minutes remaining after Vitolo had beaten Khedria on the wing. Sevilla pinned Real Madrid back into their half for the last 10 minutes, but were unable to get an equalizer which would have thrown the title race wide open, Kazinform refers to Xinhuanet.com

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