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Barcelona clinches record 12th victory

Barcelona clinches record 12th victory

League leader Barcelona romped to a club record 12th successive victory in all competitions with a comfortable 3-1 win over struggling Cadiz on Saturday.

Even the absence of World Player of the Year Ronaldinho, who was suffering from flu, couldn't hinder the progress of the reigning Spanish champion, which now has 37 points from 16 games after nine consecutive La Liga wins.

Cadiz had three clear cut chances in the opening half hour but was made to regret its failure to finish after 31 minutes when Ludovic Giuly opened the scoring for the visitors.

The French winger connected from close range with a neat pass from Andres Iniesta and Barca never looked back.

Samuel Eto'o put the Catalan club further ahead from the spot two minutes into injury time at the end of the first half.

Barca was awarded a questionable penalty, despite protests from the Cadiz players and fans alike, after an apparent dive by Rafa Marquez.

Eto'o then wasted little time in getting his 15th goal of the season barely three minutes after the break.

Barcelona could have added several more late in the game with second half substitute Henrik Larsson having two good opportunities.

Meanwhile, Deportivo La Coruna ran out a comfortable 3-0 winner in a local derby at Celta Vigo, with all the goals coming in the first half.

The victory takes Deportivo up to third ahead of yesterday's games.

Diego Tristan got Deportivo's first from the spot after 26 minutes, following a rash challenge by Celta goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto on Pedro Munitis.

Pinto was also sent off and Celta never recovered from being reduced to 10 men.

Juan Carlos Valeron fired home an angled shot two minutes before the break and shortly afterwards Joan Capdevila added Deportivo's third with a left foot lob from 25 meters.

Tristan could have got a second goal from the spot after 66 minutes in the second half, after Munitis was felled with a flying double-footed tackle by Matias Lequi, but he sent his penalty wide.

Athletic Bilbao continued its revival under new coach and local icon Javier Clemente when it beat bottom club Real Betis 2-0.

Beating Betis means that Athletic, which was itself at the foot of the first division six weeks ago when Clemente took over, has now gone four games without defeat to improve its chances of survival. Athletic, Barcelona and Real Madrid, are the only clubs never to have been relegated from the top flight of Spanish football.

Juve berates Thuram

Juventus coach Fabio Capello criticised defender Lilian Thuram for gifting Lazio a head start in Saturday's 1-1 draw here which stalled his side's push for the Serie A title.

Thuram was caught in possession and his error led to Tomasso Rocchi's early goal, but the Frenchman's blushes were saved by his compatriot David Trezeguet whose close range header salvaged a point for the reigning champions.

"It was an incredible goal we gave away, a gift," moaned Capello.

"Normally in that position a defender would boot the ball away. If we had taken the lead instead of Lazio the game would have been completely different."

Lazio was in the spotlight after the unsavory events at Livorno last Sunday when Di Canio gave a fascist salute and several of their fans waved flags with neo-nazi symbols.

And although most of the Olympic stadium crowd behaved on Saturday, Juve's black players were racially abused by a small minority of the home crowd on several occasions.

Meanwhile, Treviso won 2-1 at home to relegation rivals Lecce in Saturday's early match to move off the bottom of the table.