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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 22, 2012

Xavi strike edges Barca past Granada

A stunning 87th-minute goal from substitute Xavi set Barcelona on their way to a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Granada at the Nou Camp.

• European gallery Photo Gallery

The Catalan giants had looked to be on the verge of dropping their first points under new coach Tito Vilanova as the visitors defended resolutely and looked dangerous on the counter-attack.

But Xavi, a 53rd-minute replacement for Thiago Alcantara, finally broke the deadlock with a sublime goal three minutes from time, latching onto the ball on the edge of the box and bending a brilliant shot with the outside of his right foot into the top-left corner via the bar.

It was tough on Granada, whose goalkeeper Tono had been in inspired form throughout, and their dismay was complete in stoppage time when Borja Gomez put through his own net from Lionel Messi's cross.

Real Betis responded to the pressure placed on them by club president Miguel Guillen with a narrow 1-0 win over 10-man Espanyol.

Guillen turned up the heat on coach Pepe Mel this week by declaring Betis should look to improve on last season's 13th-placed finish.

Mel brought in eight new players over the summer and Guillen felt that, after two wins from their first three games, they should be aiming for the top half.

And that looks a distinct possibility after Junior Paulao's goal was enough to make it three wins from four games against lowly Espanyol. There were precious few chances before Betis made the decisive breakthrough in the 19th minute.

On-loan Arsenal striker Park Chu-Young came off the bench to score the winner as Celta Vigo defeated Getafe 2-1 at Balaidos.

Celta missed a host of opportunities to take the lead in the first half but eventually went in front after the break as Michael Krohn-Dehli released Augusto Fernandez to fire home.

Going behind seemed to arouse Getafe from their slumber and they responded immediately as Abdel Barrada rattled in his third goal in four games two minutes later.

But it was the Korean who had the final say when he converted at the back post from another Krohn-Dehli cross 22 minutes from time, with the visitors ending the game with 10 men as Alexis was sent off for striking Hugo Mallo.

A third defeat in five means that Getafe's shock victory over Real Madrid remains their only triumph so far this season.

Real Zaragoza recorded their first win over Osasuna in five years with an entertaining 3-1 victory at La Romareda.

Helder Postiga had given the hosts an early lead with a neat finish after four minutes, but Emiliano Armenteros brought Osasuna level with his first goal for the Navarrans 25 minutes later.

The game swung back in Zaragoza's favour, though, moments before the break when Victor Rodriguez's cross was deflected into his own net by David Timor and Apono secured all three points from the penalty spot 19 minutes from time.

A fourth defeat in five games leaves Osasuna rooted to the foot of the table and they were left to rue their profligacy in front of goal as they created just as many chances as the hosts throughout the 90 minutes.

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