Ninth straight win for Barcelona in Liga

November 17th, 2008 - 2:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Thierry HenryMadrid, Nov 17 (DPA) Barcelona went three points clear at the top of the Spanish Liga Sunday with their ninth consecutive win, 2-0 away to Recreativo Huelva.The star of Sunday’s show was Lionel Messi, who opened the scoring with a classy goal in the 52nd minute. Seydou Keita made it 2-0 at the end with his first goal for the Catalans.

“This was not an easy game,” said Messi. “The important thing is that we continue to win.”

The Argentine idol gave Barca the lead seven minutes into the second half. Xavi Hernandez seemed poised to hit a free-kick at goal but instead cleverly set up Messi, who made no mistake with his trusty left foot.

Ten minutes later Huelva midfielder Javier Camunas headed a near- post corner against Victor Valdes’ post. But Barca were always the better team, and Thierry Henry twice hit the woodwork towards the end.

Five minutes from time, the lively Henry centred for Samuel Eto’o, whose cross-shot fell perfectly for Keita to score from close range. Barca are now three points clear of second-placed Villarreal.

Earlier Sunday, Villarreal were held to a late 2-2 draw away to midtable Malaga while Athletic Bilbao scored their second win of the season, 2-0 against bottom side Osasuna. Joseba Garmendia opened the scoring, Fernando Llorente - called up for Wednesday’s Spain-Chile friendly - put away the second.

With normal time finished in Malaga, Villarreal were clinging to a 2-1 lead, thanks to goals from in-form strikers Guiseppe Rossi and Joseba Llorente.

But in the first minute of stoppage time, Malaga won a corner - and Helder Rosario made it 2-2 with a timely header.

Duda, who had scored Malaga’s first goal, said that “a draw was a fair result, given all the effort that we made.”

Valencia and Real are now five points behind Barca, and have to now share third place with Sevilla, who won 2-0 in Getafe, with goals from Luis Fabiano and supersub Tom De Mul.

Atletico Madrid stay sixth, six points behind this trio, with a 4- 1 thrashing of Deportivo Coruna. Diego Forlan was the star in the Estadio Calderon with two second-half goals.

Sunday’s most dramatic match was Numancia’s 4-3 win away to troubled Espanyol.

Osasuna have picked up just one point from six games under former Spain manager Jose Antonio Camacho, and have just five points.

Huelva are second from bottom with seven. Then come Bilbao on nine and Numancia on 10.

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