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Barca vanquishes Valencia, Real downed at home
by Ian Plenderleith, December 8th, 2008 7AM
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[SPAIN] It was a goal-crazy weekend in Spain as La Liga's 10 games produced an astonishing 44 goals. Barcelona stretched its lead at the top to six points after dismantling Valencia, 4-0, at the Nou Camp, Jozy Altidore featured throughout Villarreal's comeback from 3-0 down to take a point at home to Getafe, and Real Madrid was on the wrong end of a seven-goal barnburner to visiting Sevilla. City rival Atletico put five past Sporting Gijon.
 
Where to start? Barcelona was again in scintillating offensive form as it crushed Valencia on three cool strikes from Thierry Henry and a goal from Daniel Alves. To its credit, Valencia tried to attack throughout, making for a superb game of soccer even as it traveled home without no points and a battered goal difference. Barca is six points clear at the top, having scored 44 and conceded just nine. "The team gives a sensation of solidity," Coach Pep Guardiola said understatedly. "We have taken another step forward, but nothing more than that." Though if his team beats Real Madrid in the superclasico next Saturday, it will be even harder to imagine who might catch them.
 
Real fell to its third league defeat in four games by losing a seven-goal game to Sevilla at the Bernabeu, with Brazilian midfielder Renato scoring the winner five minutes from the end. Real had clawed back a 3-1 halftime deficit thanks to two goals in two minutes from returning striker Gonzalo Higuain and Argentine midfielder Fernando Gago, but its defensive frailty and a lack of discipline (Arjen Robben saw a second yellow for dissent 13 minutes from time) again lost it the game and it dropped to fifth place, nine points off the lead. Sevilla leapfrogged Real to go fourth.
 
Real's Sporting Director Pedja Mijatovic claimed the team was unlucky and that it should have had two penalties. "I think bad luck played a decisive role because we didn't deserve to lose," he said. "The fans were great, especially during the second half, when the team proved it can and wants to play well. This team is strong enough to make a comeback. The league is very long." He said that in Barcelona "we will do our best." Which right now won't come close to being enough.
 
And so to Villarreal, 3-0 down at home to Getafe by the interval, but scoring twice in the last seven minutes to secure a point in a scorching finish that might have ended with a win if Altidore had got his toe to a cross-ball in the dying minutes. Altidore's second-half header was well saved in the run-up to Robert Pires's opening goal for Villareal, while late strikes two minutes apart from Sebastian Eguren and NJ-born Giuseppe Rossi reaped the point and kept the side second. Esteban Granero's highlight reel opener for Getafe also deserves a mention as one of the weekend's sweetest goals.
 
Atletico went sixth and also went wild at Sporting Gijon in its 5-2 win, with a brace apiece for Argentine prodigy Sergio Aguero (seven for the season) and Diego Forlan (10, with five in the last two games). Maxi Rodriguez grabbed the other. Forlan, who missed several games through injury, is only behind Samuel Eto'o (14) and David Villa (12) on the scoring chart.
 
Last-place Osasuna and Real Valladolid also shared six goals, Portuguese striker Dady scoring his first two goals of the season for Osasuna. Recreativo Huelva moved off the bottom with its first away win of the campaign, 3-2 at Mallorca. Deportivo Coruna beat Malaga 2-0, Racing Santander was held 1-1 at home by scandal-plagued Athletic Bilbao, Real Betis and Espanyol played to the same score, and Numancia moved out of the relegation zone with a 2-1 defeat of Almeria.
 
Goals scored Dec. 6-7: 44 in 10 games (4.4 per game)
Goals scored season 2008-09: 414 in 140 games (2.96 per game)

 



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