Alexa

Brilliant Ronaldinho keeps Barcelona top

Brilliant Ronaldinho keeps Barcelona top
Brazilian World Cup star Ronaldinho brilliantly illustrated his status as European Footballer of the Year with a breathtaking goal which gave Barcelona a 2-1 win over Sevilla and kept his side on top of the Spanish league.

The 25-year-old scored the winner, and his 10th league goal of the season, in the 78th minute when he dummied over the ball, picked up a smart reverse flick from Henrik Larsson, and dribbled between two defenders before slotting the ball home.

Sevilla had earlier stunned Barca by taking a 63rd minute lead in Sunday's Nou Camp clash.

Fredi Kanoute got his first goal since his US$8-million move from Tottenham, prodding home from close range after the ball had come back off the post.

But Samuel Eto'o leveled just two minutes later when he headed home a Ronaldinho corner which the Sevilla defense, which had conceded only eight goals all season before Sunday, failed to clear. It was the Cameroon international's 13th goal of the season.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid began life under Juan Ramon Lopez Caro, the club's fifth coach in the last two and a half years, with a 2-0 win at Malaga to go third.

Caro, who succeeded the sacked Wanderley Luxemburgo, was in charge of his first league game and his side responded well to his new 4-5-1 formation with French international Zinedine Zidane key to victory.

It was Zidane who created the first goal when he swung over a corner for Sergio Ramos to head home after 34 minutes. Four minutes later, Real was 2-0 in front when Brazilian ace Robinho picked up a pass from Zidane, waltzed past two defenders to drive the ball past Francesc Arnau for his third of the season.

Real, which is reported to be in the running to win the signature of former Manchester United skipper Roy Keane, moved into third place on 28 points.

"I am happy and proud because the players worked exceptionally well," said the 42-year-old Lopez Caro whose first game in charge was the Champions League loss at Olympiakos in midweek. It was academic, however, as Real had already guaranteed its place in the last 16.

Real will face a test of its resolve next weekend when it entertains Osasuna whose 1-0 win against Mallorca gave them the club its eighth win in eight homes games this season.

Cameroon international Pierre Achille Webo scored the only goal of the game after six minutes at the El Sadat stadium.