Round-Up: FC Barcelona leads Spanish league after win over Gimnastic - European - Football - The Independent

Round-Up: FC Barcelona leads Spanish league after win over Gimnastic

FC Barcelona reclaimed first place in the Spanish league after beating last-place Gimnastic Tarragona 3-0 on goals from Javier Saviola, Ludovic Giuly and Andres Iniesta yesterday.

The win, Barcelona's first of 2007 and only its second in its last six matches, moved the defending champion above Sevilla on goal difference. Sevilla had held first place since December 17.

Real Madrid, again lacking Ronaldo and David Beckham, beat Mallorca 1-0 courtesy of Jose Antonio Reyes' 78th-minute goal and moved level on points with Barcelona and Sevilla but behind on goal difference.

Also, David Villa scored his 10th goal of the season to help Valencia beat Real Sociedad 1-0 and move two points off the lead.

Barcelona, Sevilla and Madrid each have 38 points, although Barcelona has a game in hand - a visit to Betis next Wednesday. Valencia has 36 points, one more than Atletico Madrid.

Also, it was: Zaragoza 0, Recreativo Huelva 0; Getafe 1, Celta Vigo 0; Levante 0, Athletic Bilbao 0; Betis 1, Racing Santander 1; and Deportivo La Coruna 0, Espanyol 0.

Saviola, whose six goals from the last three league and Copa del Rey games earned him a place over Eidur Gudjohnsen in the starting lineup, took only 18 minutes to score again.

Gimnastic's badly played offside trap allowed the Argentine to receive the ball from defender Oleguer Presas, playing his 100th league game for the club. Saviola controlled the ball on his chest before swiveling to volley home from close range.

Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard's decision to replace Saviola with Gudjohnsen in the 65th brought whistles of disagreement from sections of the Camp Nou crowd.

Yet Gudjohnsen contributed to Giuly's goal three minutes later with a header which was cleared off the line before the French forward shot home.

Iniesta, a 57th-minute substitute for Deco, scored Barcelona's third in the 81st after goalkeeper Albano Bizarri had left his goal to push the ball away from Ronaldinho.

Gimnastic's defeat was its 14th in 19 games and leaves it looking like a favorite for relegation at the end of the season.

Madrid's victory brought some relief at the end of a tough week for the club.

Club president Ramon Calderon was forced to apologize after criticizing Beckham and the rest of the team on Tuesday. Two days later, the team was knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Real Betis.

Madrid coach Fabio Capello again omitted Ronaldo, who is reportedly close to a move to AC Milan. Beckham, who hasn't been picked since he recently announced he would join Los Angeles Galaxy in August, wasn't considered as he has a left thigh strain.

Madrid lacked six other injured players, including captain Raul Gonzalez and Roberto Carlos.

Mallorca, which has won only one of 10 league games at home this season, dominated the first half but almost fell behind in the 20th minute when defender Sergio Ramos hit the bar with a header.

Madrid's problems appeared to worsen in the 58th when Ramos limped off following a collision with Mallorca defender Fernando Navarro.

However, Reyes won the game with a perfectly executed free kick from just outside the area which gave goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya no chance.

The goal was only Madrid's fourth in six league games.

Villa curled in a free kick from the edge of the area in the 29th minute to bring Valencia its sixth straight league win and consolation for Wednesday's Copa del Rey elimination by Getafe.

Sociedad's Savio Bortolini, who joined on loan from Flamengo last week, came close to equalizing after making his debut as a 51st-minute substitute.

The former Brazil winger had a shot cleared off the line by Valencia defender Roberto Ayala in the 68th and then hit the post with a free kick just before time.

Valencia's victory at Anoeta stadium at the halfway stage of the season increased its chances of winning its third league title in six seasons.

Zaragoza's draw with visiting Recreativo extended its winless run to three games, two in the league and one in the Copa del Rey.

Recreativo, which won its past two away games, almost made it three in a row when striker Javi Guerrero hit the post with a 61st-minute header.

Getafe striker Daniel "Guiza" Gonzalez followed his two goals against Valencia in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday by creating his team's winning goal for Manu Del Moral after only 41 seconds.

Levante's first game under coach Abel Resino against fellow struggler Bilbao ended in a goalless draw.

Betis, which eliminated Madrid from the Copa del Rey on Thursday, drew with Santander.

Ezequiel Garay converted a penalty for the visitors in the 85th, with Betis' Xisco Munoz leveling two minutes later.

Deportivo striker Angel Arizmendi missed a chance from point-blank range and had a goal disallowed in his team's goalless draw with Espanyol.

On Saturday, Sevilla drew 0-0 at Villarreal, while Atletico beat Osasuna 1-0.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
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.

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week