Barcelona beaten by Mallorca, Atletico fourth in Spanish League

May 18th, 2009 - 2:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, May 18 (DPA) All seven games Sunday in the Spanish Liga were home wins, completing a weekend that, for the first time in years, saw no away wins at all.
Champions Barcelona were beaten 2-1 by Mallorca, their fourth league defeat in a memorably successful season.

Barca became champions on Saturday when second-placed Real Madrid lost 3-2 away to Villarreal. As a consequence, coach Josep Guardiola fielded a reserve-packed team against Mallorca, letting most regulars rest up for the May 27 Champions League against holders Manchester United.

One first-teamer who asked to play in Palma was Samuel Eto’o, who is keen to keep ahead of Atletico Madrid’s Diego Forlan in the scorers’ chart.

Eto’o gave Barca the lead in the 10th minute by heading in a centre from Bojan Krkic. However, Eto’o hit the woodwork twice in the final minutes — when Barca were looking for a draw — the second time from the penalty spot.

The Cameroonian hitman now has 29 goals to his name, one more than Forlan.

Barca relaxed in the second half, and Juan Arango made it 1-1 for Mallorca 17 minutes from time. Five minutes later Cleber Santana made it 2-1 by heading in a well-worked corner.

Eto’o headed against the crossbar with two minutes to go, and was then given a dubious penalty for a supposed push by Jose Luis Marti. The African, desperate for his 30th goal, hit the post with his low spot-kick - and left the field a frustrated man.

Later on Sunday, Atletico Madrid scored an important 1-0 home win over an insipid, uninspired Valencia.

The only goal of a scrappy match came in the 30th minute, when Forlan converted a penalty given for a foul by Valencia keeper Cesar on Sergio Ahuero.

Atletico should have won by more goals, but Forlan was as profligate as had been Eto’o earlier in the evening.

Their fourth straight win takes Atletico up to fourth, three points behind third-placed Sevilla but two points above Valencia and Villarreal.

Sunday was principally a day of tense relegation battles, all of which ended up with the home team on top.

Racing Santander came from behind to beat Valladolid 3-2, with goals from Oscar Serrano, Jonathan Pereira and Nikola Zigic.

Espanyol beat cup finalists Athletic Bilbao 1-0 on a late penalty from former Spain striker Luis Garcia.

Betis overcame Almeria 2-0, with goals from Mark Gonzalez and Arzu, Gijon edged out Malaga 2-1 thanks to an own goal from visiting defender Helder.

And Numancia moved off the bottom by beating fellow strugglers Recreativo Huelva 1-0, on a late penalty from Jose Barkero.

Santander are now ninth from bottom and virtually safe, with 42 points from 36 games, the same total as Valladolid.

Then come Espanyol on with 41 points and Betis on 40. Getafe have 38 after Saturday’s 1-1 draw away to Deportivo Coruna.

Gijon are now level on 37 points with Osasuna, who were held to a 0-0 draw by Sevilla on Saturday.

Numancia are now second from bottom with 35, leaving Huelva rock bottom with just 33 - and practically doomed.

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