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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov, 10, 2007

La Liga: Inspired Getafe overwhelm sorry Barca

MADRID, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Getafe returned to haunt Barcelona as they condemned Frank Rijkaard's side to a 2-0 defeat in the Primera Liga on Saturday.

The last time Barca visited the Coliseum six months ago Getafe knocked them out of the King's Cup in the semi-finals by overturning a 5-2 first-leg deficit with a stunning 4-0 win.

This time the modest Madrid-based club put in a similarly gritty performance with Manuel del Moral giving them the lead after 28 minutes. Uruguayan Juan Albin made sure of a deserved three points with a second goal at the end.

'Our problem is the difference between our home and our away form. We have created little in attack today and you are always going to pay for that at some point,' Rijkaard said.

Off-colour Barcelona missed the chance to knock Real Madrid off the top of the standings, and stay a point back in second. The leaders host Real Mallorca at the Bernabeu on Sunday.

Michael Laudrup's Getafe climbed to 11th with their third consecutive win.

Later on Saturday, Ronald Koeman takes charge of Valencia for his first league game at home to promoted Real Murcia.

Getafe closed Barca down deep in their own half and did not let them settle into a rhythm, keeping close tabs on Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho.

Thierry Henry and Gabriel Milito had gone close for Barca on the two occasions they shook off the suffocating pressure, when Getafe struck.

A freekick to the far side of the box was headed back into the area and Del Moral broke through a gaping hole in the middle of the defence to score.

Just before the break, a backheel from Ikechukwu Uche set Francisco Sousa up with a one-on-one but Victor Valdes saved at his near post.

Barca's over-elaborate build up and lack of movement made it easier for the home side to contain them, and their Italy full back Gianluca Zambrotta was shown a straight red card for a scything tackle near the end.

Albin compounded Barca's problems when he fired in Uche's pass in the 90th minute.

The Catalans have only managed one away win in six attempts in the league this season.

VALENCIA, November 10 (PA) - Ronald Koeman secured his first win since taking the coaching reins at Valencia last weekend when his new side beat Murcia.

A brace from David Villa after an Ivan Helguera opener sealed the points for Los Che and see Koeman's side move provisionally to within a point of leaders Real Madrid, who play on Sunday.

Koeman did not pick or run the team for last weekend's win at Real Mallorca although by then he had arrived at the club.

His coaching reign started with defeat on Tuesday night, when Valencia were humbled at home by Norwegian side Rosenborg, but there was no such disappointment on Saturday as the 2002 and 2004 champions strolled to an easy victory over promoted side Murcia.

Koeman arrived from Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven, but made his name as a player at Ajax and Barcelona, where he was a symbol, scoring the winning goal in the club's first ever European Cup success, against Sampdoria at Wembley in 1992.

However, it was a Real Madrid Champions League winner who got the first goal in Koeman's stewardship and Valencia off the mark against Murcia.

Helguera, a summer signing from Real, rose to meet David Silva's curling free-kick and head past Antonio Notario from point-blank range on 11 minutes.

Silva was involved again as Valencia attacked again on 23 minutes, but the winger's cross evaded Fernando Morientes, who had banked on a near-post centre.

The home side then went two ahead on 26 minutes, when captain David Albelda robbed Pablo Garcia and played a deep ball to Villa, who beat Notario with a clinical finish.

At the other end, Timo Hildebrand then had to be alert to push out Mario Regueiro's cross, with Ivan Alonso lurking at the far post.

But Valencia continued to dominate and went in at the break with their two-goal advantage deservedly intact.

After the break, Koeman's side soon went three up following a brilliant counter-attack.

Albelda again won the ball in midfield and found Silva, who charged forward and squared for the advancing Villa to score his second of the evening.

Inigo Velez threatened for the visitors with a stinging left-footed shot at the other end, but Murcia looked unlikely to get back into the game against an impressive Valencia outfit.

As the game went on, Murcia tried in vain to push forward, but Valencia continued to control possession.

However, there was little in the way of goalmouth action at either end in the remainder of the match.

If anything, the home side looked the more likely to add to their tally and it took a stunning save from Notario to deny Valencia midfielder Ruben Baraja in injury time.

The win sees Valencia move to within a point of Real Madrid and ensured a happy league start from Koeman.

Murcia, meanwhile, are now without a win since the end of last month and appear in danger of slipping into a relegation battle.

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