Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Barcelona wins over Villarreal

Defender Juan Manuel Peña made an own-goal in the first half and deflected Deco's shoot in the second goal. This way, FC Barcelona defeated Villarreal 2-0 in the Spanish league on Sunday.

The victory over Villarreal was Barcelona's seventh straight in the league and ninth overall. At the same tome, this ended Villarreal's 13-game unbeaten streak in the league and Champions League and completed a great week for Ronaldinho Gaucho, who was voted European player of the year last Monday.

In other matches, Osasuna kept up the pressure on the leaders with a 2-1 victory at Malaga. Striker Achille Webo and winger Valdo Lopes scored first-half goals. Espanyol 1, Valencia 3; Cadiz 1, Zaragoza 2; Alaves 0, Mallorca 3; and Racing Santander 2, Real Sociedad 2.

Barcelona, which had scored 28 strikes in previous eight games, relied more on grit than flair to overcome Villarreal in hard clash in which Peña played an unlucky role.

The Blaugranas took the lead in the 24th minute when the Bolivian international inadvertently deflected the rebound after goalkeeper Sebastian Viera had only parried Ronaldinho's curling, bouncing free kick.

Peña then took part of Barcelona's second goal in the 63rd minute when Deco's fierce drive from outside the area hit him and flew past Viera.

Mexican defender Rafael Marquez was ejected in the 88th minute after receiving a second yellow card.

The Catalan team was playing its first game without Spain midfielder Xavi Hernandez, who tore a cruciate knee ligament on Friday and will be sidelined for six months. His teammates took the field in tee-shirts carrying the message "Cheer up. We're with you" in Catalan.

Xavi's replacement, Thiago Motta, was carried off on a stretcher in the 71st minute after making a tackle which earned him a yellow card. Motta missed most of last season with a knee injury.

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