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By ESPN Staff
Jan 21, 2007

Primera Liga: Valencia march on

MADRID, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Barcelona reclaimed top spot in the Primera Liga on Sunday after a 3-0 win at home to basement side Gimnastic Tarragona.

An early strike from the in-form Javier Saviola, who took his tally to seven goals in four games, and second half goals from French winger Ludovic Giuly and midfielder Andres Iniesta ended Gimnastic's stubborn resistance.

The win meant that Barca, who have a game in hand, are level on 38 points with Sevilla, but lead the standings thanks to their superior goal difference.

A draw in Wednesday's rescheduled league match against struggling Real Betis will ensure the Catalans of the symbolic title of winter champions at the halfway point in the Spanish season.

Real Madrid joined Barca and Sevilla on 38 points with an away at Real Mallorca in Sunday's late match.

Jose Antonio Reyes' sweetly struck free-kick dipped over the Mallorca wall and into the net in what was to be the game's only goal.

Real made hard work of their victory in a scrappy encounter, but Reyes' late strike ensured a three-way tie at the top of the table.

Earlier Valencia chalked up their sixth Primera Liga win on the trot after a superbly struck free kick from David Villa earned them a 1-0 victory at Real Sociedad that had lifted them into provisional second place.

Sociedad keeper Victor Bravo was left rooted to the spot when the Spain striker whipped a 25-metre shot over the wall and into the top corner shortly before the half-hour mark.

Bernd Schuster's Getafe, who knocked Valencia out of the Cup in midweek, continued their fine run of form with a 1-0 win at home to a beleaguered Celta Vigo who have now gone eight games since their last victory.

Forward Manu del Moral struck the winner with just 41 seconds on the clock to lift Getafe into eighth place in the table, a point behind Recreativo Huelva who drew 0-0 at Real Zaragoza.

Barcelona's Saviola was rewarded for his fine run of scoring form in the Cup with a place in the starting line-up and the Argentine repaid coach Frank Rijkaard's confidence almost immediately.

Controlling a miscued shot from Oleguer with his right foot, he turned and fired in with his left from 12 metres out to put Barca in front in the 18th minute.

Giuly managed to extend their lead midway through the second when he hooked in from close range after substitute Eidur Gudjohnsen had a header cleared off the line.

Iniesta completed the job when he drilled in from the edge of the area after keeper Albano Bizarri had palmed a Ronaldinho shot into his path 10 minutes from time.