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Barcelona routs Almeria 5-0 in Spanish league

Barcelona routs Almeria 5-0 in Spanish league

Samuel Eto'o's hat trick led FC Barcelona to a 5-0 rout of Almeria and the top of the Spanish league after a ninth straight victory on Saturday.
Barcelona led 4-0 by the time Eto'o completed the feat with his league-leading ninth goal before the quarter-hour mark thanks to an earlier strike from Thierry Henry.
Almeria was reduced to 10 men in the 30th minute when striker Alvaro Negredo was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Rafael Marquez, and Daniel Alves scored with a long-range free kick seven minutes later.
Barcelona joined Valencia atop the standings with 19 points from its sixth consecutive Spanish league win. The Catalan club, unbeaten in 10 matches played since an opening-day defeat to Numancia, has also won all three of its Champions League games.
Valencia, which trails Barcelona on goal difference, can move back into the top spot on Sunday with a victory over Recreativo Huelva.
Villarreal and Sevilla share second with 17 points, one better than Real Madrid.
Madrid plays Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, when Villarreal will look to extend Atletico Madrid's league losing streak to four games.
Earlier Saturday, Mehmet Aurelio and Mariano Pavone scored to give Real Betis a 2-0 victory over winless Osasuna.
In Sunday's other eighth round of games, it's: Sevilla vs. Malaga; Getafe vs. Valladolid; Mallorca vs. Espanyol; Deportivo La Coruna vs. Sporting Gijon; and Numancia vs. Racing Santander.
Eto'o opened Barcelona's impressive performance at Camp Nou in the fifth minute when the Cameroon striker volleyed defender Carlos Garcia's headed clearance past goalkeeper Diego Alves.
Henry only had to turn his foot and redirect Lionel Messi's hard pass into goal in the 13th after the France striker was left unmarked in the box.
In the 21st, Andres Iniesta threaded a pass through the area to free Xavi Hernandez and Eto'o for a clear break that Eto'o capped by rolling his second into an open goal. Three minutes later, Eto'o held off his marker to collect Messi's short pass from the goal line before raking his heel back across goal to score.
Negredo's poor tackle gave the host only more space and upped the tempo of Barcelona's quick passing game, which would set up Alves' first goal since his offseason move from Sevilla. The Brazil defender's hard drive from 30 meters (yards) pierced the defensive wall and beat the surprised Almeria goalkeeper.
Messi nearly got on the scoresheet in the 43rd after Alves' spooned pass put him clear into the area but the young Argentine was wrongly adjudged offside.
Almeria finally strung an attack together to open the second half with Guilherme's hard drive bouncing off the crossbar in the 47th before Julio Alvarez delivered his long-range free kick straight to goalkeeper Victor Valdes.
Barcelona's tempo dropped off in the second half to allow Alvarez a wide try in the 82nd, but the emphatic win was never in doubt even with Valdes' reaction save on substitute Jose Ortiz in the final minute.
Diego Alves would also kick out Eto'o's low shot in the closing stages to preserve the scoreline and make it 11 goals scored by the Catalans in their last two home games.
At Reyno de Navarro Stadium, Santi Ezquerro threatened for Osasuna early, and the Basque striker's volley home in the 16th was disallowed. Casto Espinosa dived to keep Ezquerro's rising shot out of the top corner five minutes later.
Damia Abella shot wide for Betis in the 22nd before Lopez got a finger to Jesus "Capi" Capitan's low shot in the 28th.
Aurelio opened the scoring in the 52nd after striking a free kick through the defensive wall.
Osasuna nearly struck back two minutes after Aurelio's goal but striker Javier Portillo headed straight into the path of Espinosa. Osasuna substitute Eduardo "Dady" Fernandes headed over from in front of goal in the 85th.
Osasuna goalkeeper Ricardo Lopez couldn't hold Emana Edzinbi's free kick in the 86th and Pavone netted after a couple of attempts at the loose ball.
The defeat left struggling Osasuna in 19th place and without a point in two games under new coach Jose Antonio Camacho.