FC Barcelona set aside the disappointment of losing in the league for the first time this season by beating Real Racing Club 4-0 to go five points clear of Real Madrid CF.
Barça had not lost in the league since 23 May 2009 until last weekend's 2-1 reverse against Club Atlético de Madrid, a defeat that allowed Madrid to within two points of the summit. Normal service resumed ahead of Tuesday's UEFA Champions League first knockout round fixture against VfB Stuttgart, however.
It took only seven minutes for Josep Guardiola's side to take the lead, Andrés Iniesta pouncing after the Racing rearguard failed to clear a long ball upfield. Thierry Henry (29) and Rafael Márquez (34) – with his first goal in more than a year – then both scored adroitly executed free-kicks to kill the game before half-time. The icing on the cake came with six minutes left when 18-year-old midfielder Thiago registered his first goal for the club on only his second league appearance. Madrid can close the gap once again when they host Villarreal CF on Sunday evening.
Sevilla CF, meanwhile, cemented fourth after coming from behind to secure a 3-1 win at RCD Mallorca despite finishing with only nine men. The hosts went in front through Mario Suárez (5) and, just as the visitors had drawn level through Jesús Navas (24), Álvaro Negredo was shown a red card.
Parity of numbers came two minutes after half-time when Iván Ramis was dismissed and the visiting UEFA Champions League hopefuls then took a decisive lead through Ivica Dragutinović (57) and Diego Perotti (62) before Didier Zokora's late red card. RC Deportivo La Coruña are fifth after a 2-1 win against Xerez CD, who remain eight points adrift at the foot of the table.
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|Last updated: 03/07/2011 06:45 CET|
Iraola 50 (p)
Pinillos 88 (p)
Marco Ruben 36