Football: Real stay in pursuit of Barca with Valencia win

Football: Real stay in pursuit of Barca with Valencia win
Real Madrid players celebrate after they scored against Valencia during their Spanish first division soccer match at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia December 22, 2013.

BARCELONA- A late goal from substitute Jese helped Real Madrid beat Valencia 3-2 on Sunday but they remained five points adrift of leaders Barcelona who came from behind to overcome Getafe 5-2 thanks to a quickfire hat-trick from Pedro.

Real started sluggishly against a Valencia side who had interim coach Nico Estevez in charge following the sacking of Miroslav Djukic last week.

Valencia defended well and it needed a moment of quality from Angel Di Maria to break the deadlock just before the half-hour mark with a whipped shot which nestled in the corner.

Real dropped two points against Osasuna last weekend as they struggled to deal with crosses and they were again undone by headers, the first from Pablo Piatti to equalise.

Cristiano Ronaldo restored Real's advantage before the break but Jeremy Mathieu headed home a corner just after the hour mark.

Valencia looked capable of getting the winner until Jese scored eight minutes from time.

Earlier, the signs looked ominous for Barcelona as they went 2-0 down within the first 15 minutes after Sergio Escudero and Lisandro Lopez found the net for Getafe.

With Lionel Messi and Neymar missing through injury and suspension, Pedro took it upon himself to rescue Barcelona with three goals in eight blistering minutes.

The Canary Islander chipped keeper Miguel Moya and added two clinical finishes before the break.

He also crossed for Cesc Fabregas to volley in the fourth midway through the second half, and was then fouled in the box before Fabregas converted the penalty.

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