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Barca bounces back with drubbing of Real Zaragoza

Barca bounces back with drubbing of Real Zaragoza

Leaders Barcelona, which lost its year-long unbeaten home record last weekend, bounced back in devastating style on Saturday with a 4-1 thrashing of Real Zaragoza.
Barca found Zaragoza much easier to break down than last week's opponents Atletico Madrid and built on a lead provided after just 64 seconds when Zaragoza defender Delio Toledo put the ball in his own net.
Ludovic Guily, Samuel Eto'o and Rafa Marquez added further goals with Zaragoza getting a consolation from Luciano Galletti.
"We know we are not going to win every game but this was a triumph for concentration after last week's defeat. We worked hard, and showed our mental toughness," said Barca coach Frank Rijkaard.
"But this game will not win the league, there is still a long way to go."
Toledo turned the ball past his own keeper from the edge of the area after intercepting a pass from Eto'o meant for Giuly.
Giuly then connected with an Eto'o pass on 30 minutes, with the Zaragoza defenders claiming that the pair were offside after World Player of the Year Ronaldinho had sent a long ball sailing over their heads.
It took just eight minutes for Eto'o to add to the tally and get his 17th goal of the season.
The Spanish first division's top scorer found the net despite a hint of offside after another defense-splitting pass by Ronaldinho.
Zaragoza's strikers did their bit with both Luciano Galletti and Jose Maria Movilla hitting the post but they couldn't compensate for their defenders' incompetence.
Galletti got one back for Zaragoza with a blast from the edge of the area just after the hour, which Barca keeper Victory Valdes got his fingers to but couldn't keep out.
However, Marquez completed Barca's victory after 71 minutes, heading home a Xavi Hernandez corner.
"After we gave them the lead as a present, it was always going to be an uphill battle," admitted Zaragoza coach Victor Munoz.
"We had one of those days, bad luck as well as our own errors which included gifting them goals. If you do that against Barcelona then life is going to get very complicated."
The two questionable first half goals meant that referee Fernando Carmona Mendez was the butt of the Zaragoza fans' bad humour for the entire match.
Carmona Mendez started the encounter with the 11,000 home side waving giant red cards to protest at recent decisions by the men in the middle that they felt had unjustly gone against Zaragoza.
The protest turned from a general protest against referees to a very specific one against Carmona Mendez after he disallowed a penalty appeal after 11 minutes.
Valdes clearly dragged down Galletti in the box but Carmona Mendez ruled that Zaragoza's Argentine striker had been offside when he got the ball.
Third-placed Valencia has now gone five games without a win after tit went down 2-1 at home to Deportivo La Coruna.
Lionel Scaloni opened the scoring for the visitors from Galicia on the stroke of half time, with an outstanding individual effort down the right wing before sending the ball home from the edge of the area.
Marco Di Vaio equalised for the reigning Spanish champions five minutes after the break, his eighth goal of the season.
Valencia's Italian striker should have had his second of the night shortly afterwards but Deportivo goalkeeper Gustavo Munua pulled off two outstanding saves from close range.
Victor Sanchez then secured the victory for Deportivo 12 minutes from the whistle.
Mihajlovic lifts Inter
Inter Milan maintained their unbeaten Serie A record and boosted their hopes of clinching a place in next season's Champions League with a 2-0 home win over Roma on Saturday.
Serbian dead-ball specialist Sinisa Mihajlovic, who spent two seasons at Roma, scored both goals from left-footed free-kicks, one in each half.
Roma's misery was compounded by the late dismissal of French defender Phillipe Mexes.
Inter, whose title challenge has been hampered by 15 draws, climbed up to third position while Roma remain in sixth position, seven points behind Inter.
Mihajlovic broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute, curling the ball over the defensive wall and into the bottom corner of the net.
The uncompromising central defender, who will be 36 next Sunday, was given the chance to double his tally in stoppage time when Mexes brought down Obafemi Martins for his second yellow card.
And the former Lazio player replicating his first goal, curled in another sublime kick that left Roma keeper Ivan Pelizzoli rooted to the spot.
Elsewher Fabio Liverani scored in the 89th minute to give Roma's local rival Lazio a much-needed 2-1 home win over bottom club Atalanta.
The Rome club's last-gasp victory ended a run of six games without a win and lifted them three places up the Serie A table to 13th place.Atalanta remains rooted to the foot of the table on 14 points, six adrift of second-from-bottom Brescia.
Nigerian striker Stephen Makinwa gave Atalanta the lead in the final minute of the first-half, but Fabio Bazzani equalized for the home side just seconds later to ensure parity at the break.