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Barca attack picking up steam

Barcelona 7 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Nov 19, 2006

Primera Liga: Barcelona go top

MADRID, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Two goals from Eidur Gudjohnsen helped put Barcelona back to the top of the Primera Liga as they overcame Real Mallorca 4-1 away on Sunday.

With the European and Spanish champions having lost Samuel Eto'o, Javier Saviola and Lionel Messi to injury the pressure was on Gudjohnsen to fill their boots, which the Icelander did with two cool finishes.

He scored either side of halftime, in one-on-one situations, and although Victor pulled a goal back for Mallorca, Barca scored two more through Andres Iniesta and Santi Ezquerro at the end.

'Although the scoreline looks comfortable we suffered in this game. Gudjohnsen scored at important moments and his performance is good news for us,' said Barca coach Frank Rijkaard.

Barcelona return to the top of the table with 26 points from 11 games, one ahead of Sevilla who beat 10-man Valencia 3-0 on Saturday.

Real Madrid are third with 23 after securing a 3-1 victory over Racing Santander in the Bernabeu on Saturday.

A point back in fourth are Real Zaragoza who sank struggling Gimnastic 3-0 on Sunday. They were set on their way by a fine long-range effort from Argentine playmaker Pablo Aimar and followed up with goals from midfielders Oscar and Gerard Pique.

Two goals from Portugal midfielder Maniche helped Atletico Madrid to a 3-0 win at Levante and put them fifth with 20.

Promoted Recreativo Huelva, who beat Osasuna 2-0 at home, are sixth on 19 points, the same as Getafe who lost 1-0 away to Villarreal.

Celta Vigo beat Deportivo Coruna 1-0 away in the Galician derby with a breakaway goal from Brazilian forward Nene.

Barcelona looked nervous in the opening exchanges against Mallorca, who unsettled them all too easily at the back in the first half.

The league's tightest defence before today restricted Barca to a solitary header from Brazilian midfielder Thiago Motta, that was blocked on the line by home keeper Antonio Prats, before Gudjohnsen opened the scoring in the 41st minute.

Ronaldinho's quick pass to Deco was turned first time into the Icelander's path, and he skipped around Prats to slip the ball in the empty net.

In the 58th minute Iniesta picked out Gudjohnsen with a slide-rule pass on the edge of the area. The former Chelsea player spun clear and calmly finished past the advancing keeper.

An error from Barca's Mexican defender Rafael Marquez allowed Victor to advance in the area and pull a goal back in the 70th minute.

But their chances of turning the game around disappeared with the sending off of defender Fernando Varela in the 82nd minute.

Ronaldinho ran into the area with four minutes to go and the ball broke for the chasing Iniesta, who slotted home from a tight angle.

In the last minute, Ronaldinho lifted the ball over the defence for substitute Ezquerro to volley the fourth.