Football: Rivaldo puts Barca clear

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The Independent Online
A HAT-TRICK from the Brazilian striker Rivaldo gave Barcelona a 3-1 home win over Oviedo yesterday that put the Catalans six points clear at the top of the Spanish League.

Rivaldo's first goal, an exquisite 25-yard drive, was followed by two penalties, the first for a trip on Luis Figo and the second after Philip Cocu was held by the Oviedo goalkeeper, Esteban Suarez, at a corner. Dely Valdes had earlier equalised Rivaldo's opener following a dreadful back pass from Abelardo Fernandez.

The victory took Barca on to 56 points, six more than Valencia, who edged Racing Santander 1-0 on Saturday thanks to a late header by Thomas Bjorklund.

Real Madrid moved up to third, a point further back after their fourth successive league win, 3-2 at home to Alaves, with goals by Fernando Hierro, Fernando Morientes and Raul Gonzalez.

Bayern Munich's World Cup-winning French defender, Bixente Lizarazu, could miss that rest of their European Cup matches. Munich team doctors said Lizarazu will miss six to nine weeks, including Wednesday's semi- final first leg against Dynamo Kiev, after he was discovered to have torn a ligament in his left knee.

His injury is another blow to Bayern, who have also lost the Brazilian striker Elber until the end of the season. On Saturday, Bayern were forced to fight back to earn a 2-2 draw after going 2-0 behind at fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund to two goals from Heiko Herrlich. Bayern had the defender Sammy Kuffour was sent off in the 36th minute but the numbers were evened up when Dortmund's Stefan Reuter was dismissed shortly after half-time for a foul. Alexander Zickler pulled back a goal for Bayern in the 58th minute and Carsten Jancker equalised.

Bordeaux showed they have emerged from a bad patch by thrashing Toulouse 3-0 to reclaim the leadership of the French league from Marseilles on Saturday. Lilian Laslandes began the rout in the 25th minute before the substitute Ivan and the inspirational midfielder Johan Micoud scored in the 79th and 90th respectively.

Bordeaux were thrashed 6-0 by Parma in their Uefa Cup quarter-final second leg last month. Ironically, Parma reacted to that rout in the opposite way, drawing 1-1 with Cagliari. That result virtually put paid to their hopes of winning the Italian championship, with Lazio looking set to win Serie A despite Saturday's goalless draw against Milan.

Despite those lost points, the Romans increased their advantage to six points over second-placed Fiorentina, who lost 2-0 at Internazionale to two penalties by a rejuvenated Ronaldo.

PSV Eindhoven came from a goal down to beat Ajax 3-1 yesterday and move four points behind second-placed Vitesse Arnhem in the Dutch league. Although the Belgian Luc Nilis and Ruud van Nistelrooij scored the goals, PSV had goalkeeper Ronald Waterreus to thank for keeping sixth- placed Ajax at bay.

Feyenoord, who are 12 points clear at the top, play Sparta in the Rotterdam derby today.