La Liga: Barcelona keep pace with leaders Sevilla

September 17, 2006
By Mark Elkington

MADRID, Sept 17 (Reuters) - European and Spanish champions Barcelona eased their way to a 3-0 win away at struggling Racing Santander to keep pace with leaders Sevilla in the Primera Liga on Sunday.

Goals from Samuel Eto'o, Ludovic Giuly and a Ronaldinho penalty secured the win, their third in three games in the league, to put them level on nine points with Sevilla and Valencia.

Sevilla are top on goal difference after Brazilian midfielder Renato scored a late winner to give them a 3-2 home win over city rivals Real Betis.

The UEFA Cup holders took the lead through Mali's Frederic Kanoute in the 26th minute, but Betis's Rafael Sobis scored either side of the break to put the visitors ahead.

Kanoute levelled in the 58th minute and six minutes from time Renato scored with a great solo effort to give Juande Ramos's side victory.

Third-placed Valencia became the first side to score against Getafe this season when Fernando Morientes headed home just before the break and winger Vicente made it 2-0 from the penalty spot in the second half.

In the Bernabeu, Jose Antonio Reyes and David Beckham scored to give Real Madrid a 2-0 win over Real Sociedad that put them fourth with seven points.

After a dull first half, Reyes opened his account for Real with a curling free kick in the 69th minute, and four minutes later the visitors were reduced to 10 men as Mikel Aranburu was sent off.

Beckham replaced Reyes as a second-half substitute soon after, and ran the length of the pitch to double the scores on a counter-attack in the final minute.

Deportivo Coruna also have seven points and are fifth after beating goal-shy Villarreal 2-0 on Saturday, and they are one ahead of Real Zaragoza, Atletico Madrid and Getafe.

Zaragoza beat 10-man Real Mallorca 2-0 at home while Argentine youngster Sergio Aguero scored and won a penalty for Atletico in their 4-1 away victory over Athletic Bilbao.

Racing have yet to score this season but took the game to Barca early on with Argentine midfielder Cristian Alvarez thumping a free kick against Victor Valdes's post.

Barca were slow to get into their stride but benefited from an error to take the lead in the 18th-minute, when Racing goalkeeper Tono misjudged the bounce of Cameroon striker Eto'o's long-range shot for the opener.

Frank Rijkaard's side dominated possession but had to wait until the 84th-minute before extending their lead.

Ronaldinho fed Giuly on the edge of the area and the Frenchman jinked through three tackles to score inside the near post.

In time added on Tono completed a miserable game by bringing down Eidur Gudjohnsen in the area for a penalty, and was sent off.

With all three substitutes used Racing midfielder Felipe Melo went in nets but he was unable to read Ronaldinho, who sent him the wrong way from the spot.