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By ESPN Staff

La Liga: Eto'o brace eases Barca past Osasuna

MADRID, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o scored two and set up another to steer the Spanish champions to a classy 3-0 victory over Osasuna at the Nou Camp on Saturday. The Cameroon international opened the scoring with just over a minute on the clock when he put the finishing touch to a gleaming passing move involving Ronaldinho and Deco.

He added a second after racing on to a clever lofted pass from Deco and set up Argentine teenager Lionel Messi for the third before the half was up when he cashed in on a mistake by Osasuna keeper Ricardo.

The victory made it two wins out of two for the Catalans who begin the defence of their Champions League crown at home to Bulgarian side Levski Sofia on Tuesday.

Atletico Madrid and Valencia, two of the Primera Liga's biggest spenders in the close season, face each other at the Calderon in Saturday's late match.

Real Madrid travel to Levante on Sunday, while Sevilla, who beat the Valencia-based side 4-0 in their opening match of the season, are away to Real Sociedad.

DREAM START

Barca got off to a dream start in front of their home fans with a beautifully fashioned goal in the second minute.

Ronaldinho skipped down the right flank towards the area and exchanged an intricate one-two with Deco before cutting a pass back towards the near post where Eto'o was on hand to stab the ball past Ricardo.

Barca settled into their usual slick passing game for the next 25 minutes before Eto'o added a second goal to take his tally for the season to three.

The Barca striker hooked the ball over the advancing Ricardo after he had latched on to a deep pass from Deco that had skimmed off the head of an Osasuna defender.

Eto'o set up his side's third eight minutes before the break when he snapped up the ball after pressing Ricardo into a mistake as he tried to clear his area.

He cut the ball back to Lionel Messi who threaded a low shot between Ricardo's legs to make it 3-0.

Barca eased up in the second half but Messi and substitute Ludovic Giuly both went close to adding a fourth late in the game.

New signing Lilian Thuram, who was in the starting line-up in preference to skipper Carles Puyol, gave an assured performance in the centre of the back four, restricting the visitors to just one clear shot on goal two minutes from time.

At the Vicente Calderon, Valencia secured a one nil victory against Atletico Madrid courtesy of an seventh minute David Villa goal to give them maximum points from their first two games. Atletico had Fernando Torres sent off for two bookable offences whilst Valencia were also reduced to ten men after Emiliano Moretti was shown a straight red for a foul.