LA LIGA REVIEW

La Liga: Ibrahimovic stars as Barca down Getafe

September 12, 2009
By Reuters

Cristiano Ronaldo came off the bench to seal a 3-0 win for Real Madrid away to Espanyol in La Liga on Saturday, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic provided the inspiration for Barcelona in a 2-0 success at Getafe.

Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Barcelona
GettyImagesZlatan and Messi celebrate

Esteban Granero struck to give Real the lead just before the break, Guti made it 2-0 and Ronaldo wrapped up the victory in added time.

It was an emotional evening for the Espanyol players and fans as it was their first home league match since captain Dani Jarque collapsed and died last month and their first competitive game in their new Cornella-El Prat stadium.

Barcelona had earlier got their second win from two when Ibrahimovic scored one and created the clinching second for Lionel Messi.

Barcelona are top with six points, ahead of Real on goal difference.

Real coach Manuel Pellegrini left record €94m signing Ronaldo and captain Raul out of his starting line-up and Espanyol had the pick of the chances in the early stages.

Granero's goal came after he exchanged passes with Brazilian playmaker Kaka and finished past Cameroon goalkeeper Carlos Kameni.

Kaka, signed from AC Milan for &euro67m in the close season, then surged to the byline and cut the ball back for Guti to double the lead with just over 10 minutes left.

Ronaldo replaced the ineffective Karim Benzema and was on hand to slot into an empty net for Real's third.

At Madrid's Coliseum earlier, Barca coach Pep Guardiola left Messi, Thierry Henry, Daniel Alves and fit-again Andres Iniesta on the bench and the European champions came under pressure.

Juan Albin almost grabbed an 11th minute lead with a superb volley from just outside the penalty area that ricocheted down off the crossbar with Victor Valdes rooted to the spot.

Valdes could only stand and watch again when an overhead kick from Roberto Soldado, who scored a hat-trick against Racing in Getafe's opening match, bounced back off a post.

Guardiola brought on Messi and Iniesta just before the hour and they took the lead almost immediately when Ibrahimovic stuck out a leg to deflect the ball in off a post from Eric Abidal's deflected cross.

The Swede underlined his class when he controlled an Alves centre on his chest and chipped a perfect first-time cross for Messi to power in a rare headed goal and seal Barcelona's second win in two league games.

"Getafe fought for the ball today more than any team we have played since I became coach," Guardiola told a news conference. "Winning here is not easy and the victory is worth a lot."

Racing Santander had Jose Angel Crespo sent off early in the second half at Atletico Madrid but the visitors managed to hold on for a 1-1 draw.

Sevilla beat Real Zaragoza 4-1 in Saturday's late game. Defender Konko coverted from close range for the home side before a classy Zaragoza move ended with an equaliser from Javier Arizmendi.

But Luis Fabiano poked home just before the break before Diego Perotti made it three. Fabiano tucked home from close range to add the gloss late on.