Euro Zone: Keita hat-trick fires Barça to thumping win

It was the night when Fabio Capello was meant to be watching Jermaine Pennant, but in the end it was more a case of Jermaine Pennant watching Barcelona. Zaragoza were spectators as Barça stormed back to the top of
La Liga with a 6-1 win.



Pennant showed some neat touches whenever Zaragoza were able to dispossess the champions, but for the most part the visitors were cones on Barça's training pitch – it was 3-0 by half-time, the home side had two goals ruled out, Zaragoza's goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo was their best player and Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic was unplayable.

Seydou Keita got the first after Messi crossed from the right. Ibrahimovic blasted a 25-yard free-kick into the roof of the net for the second. Keita scored his second and Barça's third from an Ibrahimovic cross and the Swede tapped in the fourth from a Keita cross. Messi should have made it five but Carrizo saved with his legs.

Zaragoza pulled one back through Jorge Lopez before Leo Messi's delicate lob made it 5-1 and Keita completed his hat-trick with the sixth.

The win sent Barça three points clear of Real Madrid but there are light years between the rivals in terms of the football the two sides are playing. Big-spending president Florentino Perez likes to call it a "super-production" but Real's blockbuster looks like a bad B-movie when compared to the current leaders.

"Just what are they playing at?" ran one headline after Real were held by Sporting Gijon in a 0-0 draw that, aside from one effort from Raul that was ruled out for a handball against Kaka (left), never looked like yielding more than one point for Madrid.

The draw came off the back of two defeats against Seville and Milan and all without Ronaldo, who scored seven goals in nine games before his ankle injury.

"We domintated the first half and we kept on looking for the goal in the second half but it never came," said coach Manuel Pellegrini. "We improved in so many other areas but we failed to do the most important thing which is put the ball in the back of the net." The criticism is perhaps as exaggerated as Real's summer spending and Iker Casillas appealed for calm after the setback.

The Madrid keeper said: "Great players have been brought to the club but we hardly knew each other two months ago. It takes time and we have to keep working. We have not been fortunate with injuries but the squad is big and we do not rely on just one player. Gijon defended well and they should take some credit from the game."

How Atletico Madrid would love to have Real's problems. They drew with Mallorca yesterday with new manager Quique Sanchez Flores watching from the stands having replaced the sacked Abel Resino.

Atletico failed to beat Mallorca despite being awarded two penalties and playing against nine men for much of the game. Diego Forlan missed one and scored one of the two penalties – both awarded for handballs – that saw first Josemi and Ramis sent off.

But despite being one-up and having a two-man advantage for the last 40 minutes, Atletico conceded in the last minute, with Borja Valero scoring the equaliser for Mallorca.

Muntari keeps Inter on top

Internazionale stayed top of Serie A with a 2-1 win over Catania. Wesley Sneijder was on the mark and Sulley Muntari scored his first goal of the season with a free-kick intended for Samuel Eto'o that bounced beyond the striker into the Catania goal.



Meanwhile, in another Galaxy

David Beckham was looking forward to the play-offs after playing an integral part in LA Galaxy's 2-0 victory over San Jose which confirmed his side as winners of the MLS Western Conference. The England man was given a standing ovation when he was substituted late on. "We wanted to finish on a high and we did that," Beckham said. "It pleased the fans to finish top but we don't stop here. There is still a lot of work to be done."



Tamudo heading for Wigan

The Espanyol striker Raul Tamudo could move to Wigan in January, according to Roberto Martinez. The Spanish striker is on the verge of having his contract, which runs out in the summer, terminated and the Wigan manager Martinez said: "Tamudo was in the list for possible signings in the summer but it didn't happen. I think he still has a couple of good years ahead of him."



Tamudo heading for Wigan

The Espanyol striker Raul Tamudo could move to Wigan in January, according to Roberto Martinez. The Spanish striker is on the verge of having his contract, which runs out in the summer, terminated and the Wigan manager Martinez said: "Tamudo was in the list for possible signings in the summer but it didn't happen. I think he still has a couple of good years ahead of him."



Del Bosque fears England

The Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has identified England as one of Spain's big four rivals to win the 2010 World Cup. The reigning European champions will start as favourites for next summer's tournament, but Del Bosque said: "From Europe I would pick out England and Italy, from South America, Brazil and from Africa the Ivory Coast – these are the four best sides in the world at the moment."



United in remembrance

As always happens on the 16th minute of a Seville home match Antonio Puerta's name echoed around the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium. But on this occasion, the home tribute to the Spanish defender who wore the No 16 shirt and, at 22, died of a heart attack two years ago, was even more poignant. Espanyol, whose captain and No 21 Dani Jarque died in similar circumstances aged 26 at the start of the season, were the visitors. Their supporters joined in the applause for Puerta and then, on minute 21 Seville, fans rose to lead the minute's applause for Jarque.



Swine flu causes postponement

The Ligue 1 match between Marseilles and Paris St-Germain was postponed yesterday after several PSG players were diagnosed with H1N1 flu, the French Professional League (LFP) said. The decision was taken "on the formal recommendation of the [national] commission of medical experts", the LFP said in a statement on its website. According to the French media, three players – Ludovic Giuly, Mamadou Sakho and Jérémy Clément – have been tested in the last 48 hours for the swine flu virus after complaining of high fever, coughing and sore throats.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most