Home wins for twin giants Barcelona and Real Madrid

February 7th, 2010 - 2:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, Feb 7 (DPA) Saturday brought no change at the top of the Spanish Liga, as twin giants Barcelona and Real Madrid both scored important home wins.
Barca beat Getafe 2-1, despite having defenders Gerard Pique and Rafa Marquez sent off. Real thrashed Espanyol 3-0, keeping intact their perfect home record.

Barca maintain their five-point lead over the whites.

Star of the show in Barcelona was FIFA World Player Lionel Messi, who scored one goal and set up the other one.

Barca coach Josep Guardiola refused to complain about referee Fernando Teixeira Vitienes. “Referees make some mistakes and get some things right,” he said, “the same as everyone.”

He added that he was “very proud” of his players, and that “this win has a lot of merit.”

Barca had to play with a man less for most of the game because of the direct red card shown to defender Gerard Pique after just 25 minutes, with the score at 1-0.

With Barca winning 2-0, fellow defender Rafa Marquez was sent off in injury time and Getafe striker Roberto Soldado converted the resultant penalty - but the final whistle was just seconds away.

Guardiola had to reshuffle his defence after right-back Dani Alves pulled a muscle in the pre-match warm-up.

Messi shot Barca ahead with his trusty left foot in the sixth minute, after Yaya Toure had laid the ball back for him.

In the 25th minute Pique was sent off for an ugly foul on Getafe defender Rafa Lopez, forcing Guardiola to rejig his defence again.

Getafe created several good chances to equalize, but lacked a sharp finish. They were punished for their profligacy in the 67th minute, when Messi boke away and set up playmaker Xavi to make it 2-0 with a near-post drive.

But Getafe were not finished. In injury time Kepa Blanco broke free and was pulled down by Marquez, who was sent off. Soldado calmly put away the penalty, but it came too late to save the visitors.

Barca’s win obliged Real to also pick up three points, in order to keep close to the Catalans.

Sergio Ramos headed the whites ahead after just six minutes, on a centre from Esteban Granero. On the half hour Kaka made it 2-0 by netting the rebound, after Espanyol keeper Carlos Kameni had pushed out a header from veteran captain Raul.

Supersub Gonzalo Higuain completed the rout right at the end after cleverly skipping around Kameni.

Kaka said that “things are going well, we are becoming more of a team with each match.” He then expressed the hope that Barca will “drop some points sooner or later.”

The 21st round of matches had started with Valencia beating lowly Valladolid 2-0, with first-half goals from Ever Banega and David Villa.

The pleasant win leaves “Los Ches” in third place with 42 points from 21 games, six points above Sevilla and eight above Mallorca and Deportivo Coruna.

Valencia are eight-points behind second-placed Real.

Another Valencia player who is improving is Banega, who might just snatch a place in Diego Maradona’s Argentina World Cup squad.

The little playmaker opened the scoring in the ninth minute with a powerful drive, after a mistake from Valladolid midfielder Haris Mendunjanin.

And on the half hour Banega set up Villa to make it 2-0 with an agile diving header.

Valencia eased up in the second half and played on the break. However, Valladolid never looked capable of turning things around and it was a poor debut for new coach Onesimo Sanchez, who took over from Jose Luis Mendilibar last Monday.

Valladolid are fourth from bottom and in big trouble.

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