| Barcelona’s Michael Reiziger jumps over Real Murcia’s Michel Sanchez during their Spanish League encounter at the Nou Camp on Wednesday. (Reuters)
Madrid: Deportivo La Coruna lost their 100 per cent home record when they were surprisingly beaten 0-2 by struggling Real Mallorca but they hung on to the Spanish League leadership after Valencia were held to a 2-2 draw by Celta Vigo.
Mallorca put behind them a spate of dreadful performances to give Deportivo as good as they got and 15 minutes from time took the lead from a Samuel Eto’o penalty after Enrique Romero was adjudged to have pushed Fernando Correa.
The Balearic island side added a second three minutes from time when Arnold Bruggink leapt on an opportunistic long ball and sent a looping shot from just inside the area over the head of Deportivo goalie Francisco Molina.
The victory was the Mallorca team’s first win in 10 visits to the Galicians and their first points away from home this season.
The kick off of Valencia’s game was delayed by 10 minutes because Celta were caught in traffic on the way to the ground and the visitors also appeared to be going nowhere fast during the first half at the Mestalla stadium.
Valencia’s Pablo Aimar headed the home side ahead four minutes before the break. However, Celta woke up after half time and goals in the first 20 minutes from Magnolo Berizzo and Jesuli Mora turned the game around in their favour before Uruguayan striker Nestor Canobbio got his first League goal in the Spain to get Valencia a share of the points.
Deportivo have 21 points from nine games, with Real Madrid and Valencia one point back. Real lie in second on the basis of having scored more goals than Valencia, with both sides having the same goal difference. Like Valencia, the reigning Spanish champions blew their chance of going to the top of the League when they could only draw 0-0 at Real Zaragoza on Tuesday.
Fourth-placed Osasuna continue to impress and closed the gap on the leading trio with a 2-0 win over Real Betis. Moha El Yaagoubi ended a neat one-two with his Australian teammate John Aloisi to open the Pamplona club’s account six minutes after the break and Inaki Munoz got Osasuna’s second goal nine minutes before the whistle.
Barcelona finally brought a smile to the faces of their long-suffering supporters with an emphatic 3-0 defeat of struggling Murcia. It was the Catalans’ first win in the Nou Camp since the start of the season and Javier Saviola got the ball rolling after 38 minutes, finishing off a good move which involved Ronaldinho and Gerard Lopez.
After having been castigated by their coach Frank Rijkaard for relaxing in the second half of Sunday’s 3-1 win at Mallorca, Barca were in no mood to go into cruise control after the break.
Xavi Hernandez and Ronaldinho found the net early in the second half and pressed for more goals but were thwarted as Murcia attempted to cut their losses by putting everyone behind the ball.