Hat-trick hero Henry leaves Barcelona six points clearDecember 7th, 2008 - 5:51 pm ICT by IANS
Madrid, Dec 7 (DPA) Barcelona went six points clear at the top of the Spanish Liga by thrashing hapless Valencia 4-0.Barca now have 35 points from 14 games, six points more than Villarreal, who did well to force a 3-3 draw against Getafe earlier Saturday.
With Samuel Eto’o suspended, Thierry Henry took centre stage Saturday, banging in a handsome hat-trick and looking more comfortable than ever in a Barca shirt.
The French veteran made it 1-0 in the 20th minute by latching on to a classy through-ball from Yaya Toure and scoring with the outside of his right foot.
Eight minutes later, with the Valencia defence looking shaky, Henry made it 2-0 by turning in a short pass from Alexander Hleb.
Valencia failed to recover from these two early blows, and their first away defeat was never in doubt.
Daniel Alves made it 3-0 three minutes into the second half, on a pass from the majestic Xavi.
Henry completed the rout 10 minutes from time after substitute Bojan Krkic had danced his way through the weary Valencia defence.
“We are doing things well,” said Henry, “but we have still not won anything.”
He added that “the fans are enjoying themselves and so are we,” and finished with the hope that “we can continue like this” next Saturday against historic rivals Real Madrid.
Valencia stay third with 27 points, one point ahead of injury-plagued Real Madrid.
Saturday’s three games saw a total of 17 goals.
Villarreal were relieved to force a 3-3 draw against Getafe, after going 3-0 down in the first half.
Getafe had coasted into a 3-0 lead within 30 minutes, thanks to early goals from Esteban Granero, Jaime Gavilan and Francisco Casquero.
But Villarreal were a transformed team in the second half, faster and more imaginative. Robert Pires pulled a goal back in the 56th minute, Sebastian Eguren made it 3-2 with just eight minutes left.
With Getafe against the ropes, Guiseppe Rossi made it 3-3 in the 86th minute - then almost won the game for the “Yellow Submarine” in injury time.
“We showed a lot of character in the second half,” said Eguren. “We made mistakes in the first half, but we really did not deserve to lose tonight.”
Atletico Madrid moved up to fifth - level with Sevilla on 24 points - by cruising to a 5-2 win away to Sporting Gijon.
Atletico’s best away performance of the season had a distinctly South American flavour to it, with Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan netting two apiece and Maxi Rodriguez grabbing the other goal.
“We really enjoyed ourselves tonight,” said the in-form Forlan. “This is an important win, against difficult opponents, who made us work really hard.”