Saturday, January 5, 2008
La Liga: Eto'o at the double in late Barca flurry
MADRID, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Samuel Eto'o scored two late
goals for Barcelona in a 4-0 romp at home to promoted Real
Murcia in the Primera Liga on Saturday.
The Cameroon striker made the most of his last game before
joining up with his national squad for the African Nations Cup,
adding to earlier goals from Eidur Gudjohnsen and Bojan Krkic.
But it was France striker Thierry Henry who drew special
praise from coach Frank Rijkaard for his two assists.
'Henry has nearly always played with injuries or problems
since he arrived but now he is feeling well,' said the Dutchman.
'Now he is demonstrating his class and his talent. Today he
was the principal figure on the pitch.'
Barca, with 40 points, closed to within four of leaders Real
Madrid who visit basement club Levante on Sunday. Third-placed
Espanyol, on 36, travel south to Almeria.
Barca lacked spark in a low-key first half but took the lead
when Gianluca Zambrotta's cross from the right was volleyed
inside the far post by Iceland striker Gudjohnsen in the 27th
With Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi out injured and Andres
Iniesta starting on the bench, the Catalans dominated early on
without exciting a restless Nou Camp.
Victor Valdes denied Fernando Baiano in a one-on-one just
after the break before Barca increased the tempo.
The ball was soon down the other end with Henry cutting to
the line and crossing low for Krkic to net from close range in
Henry was in top form and in the 77th he crossed for Eto'o
to finish on a flowing break. Zambrotta struck a post in the
closing stages before substitute Giovani dos Santos set up Eto'o
for his second with three minutes remaining.
In Saturday's later game, Sevilla were dispatched with some ease in the Basque region as Athletic Bilbao secured a 2-0 victory to pull away from the wrong end of La Liga.
The home team opened the scoring when Francisco Javier Yeste got on the end of a nice through ball and evaded the Sevilla defence to fire home unhesitatingly.
It got worse for Sevilla in the second half when Julien Escude was shown a straight red card after leading with his arm as he challenged for a high ball.
Sevilla began to lose their shape and conceded a second when Nestor Susueta's 68th minute strike effectively killed the contest.