Pin-point Ramos holds nerve again as Madrid beat Bilbao
Madrid: Sergio Ramos scored his 22nd consecutive penalty on Sunday as Real Madrid held on for another 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao to inch closer to winning La Liga. Ramos' fifth goal in seven games since the restart gives Madrid a seven-point lead over Barcelona, who was to play later on Sunday at in-form Villarreal. Anything but a victory for Barca would probably leave them too much to do with four games remaining, especially as Madrid own the superior record head-to-head. This was Madrid's toughest fixture left and they might have been content even with a point against a robust, well-organised Bilbao side. But after edging out Getafe on Thursday, through a Ramos spot-kick, Madrid repeated the trick at San Mames, their captain's nerve from the spot combining with a gutsy display to grind out a pivotal win. Ramos was perhaps fortunate not to concede a penalty himself when, off the ball, he seemed to slip and tread on the foot of Raul Garcia, but Madrid escaped. Instead, the defender's 10th goal of the season, the best tally of his career, gave Madrid their third 1-0 win in a row, as well as a fourth consecutive clean sheet. "It's a massive win," said Ramos. "We knew today was going to be one of the biggest games that we have left. It's always a difficult game away at Bilbao and we saw it like that. We're happy with another crucial three points that put more pressure on Barcelona." Ramos said he is always confident on penalties. "In those moments of doubt that's when I feel most comfortable. I wanted to take the responsibility," he said. "But if I wanted individual recognition I would play tennis." - AFP ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ v