Iniesta guides leaders Barcelona to fifth successive winApril 12th, 2009 - 4:16 pm ICT by IANS
By Duncan Shaw
Madrid, April 12 (DPA) Andres Iniesta inspired leaders Barcelona to a 2-0 home win over lowly Recreativo Huelva in the Spanish Liga.
Barca after Saturday’s win have 75 points from 30 games, nine points more than second-placed Real Madrid, who are at home to midtable Valladolid on Sunday.
The Catalans have won their last five league games, without conceding a single goal.
Star of the show in the Camp Nou was little Iniesta, who scored the first Barca goal and provoked the second one, an own goal from Huelva defender Nasief Morris.
Barca coach Josep Guardiola said that “this kind of win, when you don’t play particularly well, is the most important kind.”
He would have preferred “to have played a little better…but we lacked rythym. It happens to every team sometimes.”
Guardiola gave a well-earned rest to Carles Puyol, Xavi and Samuel Eto’o, but his team still looked tired and short of ideas.
And this despite going ahead in the very first minute, when Thierry Henry centred from the left for Iniesta to make it 1-0.
Barca then lost their rhythm and Huelva - who are third from bottom - came forward, albeit without penetration.
Henry had a “goal” disallowed for offside in the 65th minute. Three minutes later it was 2-0, after Morris had clumsily turned an Iniesta centre into his won goal.
Lionel Messi, looking weary and uninspired, had a late penalty saved by Huelva keeper Asier Riesgo, after handball by Jose Casado.
Later Saturday, Villarreal completed a bad week by crashing 2-0 at home to lively Malaga, with goals from Portuguese midfielders Duda and Eliseu.
Duda opened the scoring in the 39th minute with a handsome left-foot drive, Eliseu settled the issue on the break four minutes from time, after being perfectly set up by Albert Luque.
Villarreal looked tired after their Champions League exertions against Arsenal. They remain fourth, but Valencia and Malaga are now only two points behind them.
“This is a really important win for us,” said Malaga veteran Luque.
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Tags: albert luque, camp nou, carles puyol, catalans, duncan shaw, exertions, foot drive, josep guardiola, league games, left foot, liga barca, lionel messi, midfielders, offside, real madrid, recreativo huelva, samuel eto o, star of the show, thierry henry, xavi