Racing Santander 4-1 to stay top of the Spanish first division on goal
difference from surprise package Osasuna, but Real Madrid struggled to a
2-2 draw at Real Sociedad.
The Catalan club have 28 points from 13 games to stay ahead of Osasuna,
who beat Alaves 3-2.
Samuel Eto'o got his 12th goal of the season with a marvelous individual
effort after 31 minutes to get the ball rolling for Barca.
Goals early in the second half from the Argentine teenage prodigy Lionel
Messi, followed by strikes from Brazilians Ronaldinho and Sylvinho
emphasised Barca's dominance over relegation-threatened Racing.
Francisco Casquero got a consolation goal for the visitors from the
penalty spot, after Barca's Mexican defender Rafael Marquez had handled
the ball, but Eto'o could easily have added to the Barca tally with two
near misses in the final minutes.
Real Madrid grabbed a late draw when two goals in the last three minutes
from Raul Bravo and Zinedine Zidane.
Xabi Prieto had put Sociedad ahead from the penalty spot just before the
break after Roberto Carlos appeared to push over Oscar De Paula.
De Paula himself got Sociedad's second with a header after 58 minutes.
"It was a complicated game but this Madrid is capable of resolving these
difficulties. As for the penalty, the referee was wrong but I don't want
to say any more," said Real's under-fire coach Wanderley Luxemburgo.
"I'm sad because we didn't win. We could have gone in 3-0 up at the
break and we changed ends 1-0 down. (Real Madrid goalkeeper) Iker
Casillas didn't have anything to save in the first half."
Both teams ended the game with 10 men.
Real's Sergio Ramos was sent off for the second time this season after
73 minutes and Sociedad themselves were reduced to 10 men when Gaizka
Garitano got his marching orders nine minutes later.
"Sociedad surprised me because they attacked more than I expected and
they put on the pressure. But we can take some positive things from this
game. We had a brilliant first half and then reacted well when we went a
man down," added Luxemburgo.
Osasuna's dream season continued with their seventh consecutive home win
to maintain their 100-percent record in their intimidating El Sadar
"I really like this side, the atmosphere, the team spirit, each one of
them did what he had to do and some played an almost perfect game," said
Osasuna coach Javier Aguirre.
"We did all the work with the ball, and our opponents had to settle for
counter-attacking. This team is really tough at home and even when we
went a goal down we didn't lose our composure.
"We conceded two goals but they were our only two errors."
All the action came in the second half with Alaves drawing first blood
when Nene got his sixth goal of the season after 56 minutes.
Osasuna responded quickly with Serbian striker Savo Milosevic finding
the net on the hour from the edge of the six yard box.
Francisco Punal then put Osasuna ahead with a 72nd minute penalty after
Alaves defender Poli Fernandez had brought down Milosevic.
Moroccan international Moha El Yaagoubi added Osasuna's third goal seven
minutes from time before Alaves' Australian striker John Aloisi headed a
late consolation against the club he left in the summer.
Villarreal are now unbeaten in nine league games and move up to third
after their 2-0 win at Deportivo La Coruna.
Both of Villarreal's goals came in the second half from the Argentine
international pair of Juan Roman Riquelme, a thundering free kick from
20 metres after 55 minutes, and Juan Pablo Sorin.
Sevilla continue to show better form on the domestic stage than they
have been doing in the UEFA Cup and won 2-0 at a lacklustre Real
Zaragoza to climb to fourth thanks to second half goals from Javier
Saviola and Daniel Alves.
Spanish league standings after Sunday's matches (played, won, drawn,
lost, goals for, goals against, points):
Barcelona 13 8 4 1 34 12 28
Osasuna 13 9 1 3 19 13 28
Villarreal 13 6 5 2 20 12 23
Sevilla 13 6 5 2 13 6 23
Celta Vigo 13 7 2 4 16 14 23
Real Madrid 13 7 1 5 24 16 22
Valencia 13 6 4 3 18 15 22
Getafe 13 6 3 4 20 18 21
Deportivo La Coruna 13 5 5 3 17 14 20
Real Sociedad 13 5 2 6 19 26 17
Atletico Madrid 13 4 4 5 13 13 16
Malaga 13 4 3 6 20 18 15
Cadiz 13 3 5 5 9 13 14
Espanyol 13 3 4 6 10 15 13
Real Mallorca 13 3 3 7 11 22 12
Real Zaragoza 13 1 8 4 12 17 11
Alaves 13 2 5 6 13 19 11
Racing Santander 13 2 5 5 7 15 11
Real Betis 13 2 5 6 9 20 11
Athletic Bilbao 13 2 4 7 12 18 10