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Barcelona streak ends

Madrid: Spanish League leaders Deportivo La Coruna ground out a gruelling 0-0 draw at Real Betis on Saturday to open the door to championship rivals Valencia and Real Madrid.

Deportivo now have 26 points from 12 games with Valencia and Real Madrid second and third respectively, three points behind and separated only by goal difference but both teams have a game in hand over the Galicians.

Betis had the best chances to end the deadlock in the downpour with the sodden pitch contributing greatly to the grim display. Fernando Fernandez had a weak penalty saved by Deportivo goalkeeper Francisco Molina after 26 minutes, after Molina had bundled over Juanito Gutierrez.

After an hour, Betis’ Dani Martin found the net only for the referee to disallow the goal for dangerous play from Argentine striker Martin Palermo, who had produced an acrobatic overhead kick to send the ball across the penalty area to the feet of Dani.

Barcelona stay in fourth despite their 1-2 defeat at Villarreal, which brought to an end the Catalans’ four game unbeaten streak.

Brazilian striker Sonny Anderson, who spent two miserable seasons at Barca between 1997 and 1999, got a modicum of revenge over his former club by getting the injury time winner from a diving header, after the ball was lofted into the box by his compatriot Belletti.

Real Mallorca eased their relegation worries with a 1-0 win at Real Sociedad.

Champions Juventus moved five points clear at the top of Serie A after goals from David Trezeguet and Pavel Nedved gave them a 2-0 win at Modena on Saturday.

Inter Milan moved up to fourth after crushing Reggina 6-0 at the San Siro Stadium, continuing their revival under new coach Alberto Zaccheroni before Tuesday’s Champions League game with Arsenal.

Defender Fabio Cannavaro opened the scoring for Inter. Two minutes before the break Nigerian teenager Obafemi Martins doubled the advantage with a brilliant individual goal.

Andy van der Meyde, Francisco Farinos, Julio Ricardo Cruz and Christian Vieri then subsequently made it 6-0 for Inter. (Reuters)

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