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Barça win despite Ronaldinho dismissal

Published: Sunday 11 April 2004, 0.46CET
FC Barcelona climbed to third with a 3-1 win over Real Valladolid CF, extending their unbeaten run to 13 games.

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Published: Sunday 11 April 2004, 0.46CET

Barça win despite Ronaldinho dismissal

FC Barcelona climbed to third with a 3-1 win over Real Valladolid CF, extending their unbeaten run to 13 games.
FC Barcelona climbed to third in Spain's Primera División on Saturday with a 3-1 win over Real Valladolid CF which extended their unbeaten run to 13 games.

Ronaldinho red card
The victory came despite the dismissal of Barcelona's gifted playmaker Ronaldinho and moves the Catalan side to within eight points of leaders Real Madrid CF. Madrid host sixth-placed CA Osasuna on Sunday while Valencia CF, just a point behind, take on mid-table Real Zaragoza.

Saviola strike
Barcelona were 2-0 ahead at half-time thanks to a chipped goal from Argentinian Javier Saviola and a volley from Ronaldinho. However the Brazilian was sent off in the 54th minute for a second bookable offence after heading the ball out of the hands of Valladolid goalkeeper Albano Bizzarri's hands.

González goal
The incident threatened to transform the game as Barcelona lost their composure and Valladolid clawed back a goal in the 65th minute when Óscar González drove in a header from a corner. But the home side were unable to make the most of their second-half possession and Barcelona substitute Andrés Iniesta settled the game with a strike five minutes from time.

Suspension pending
Ronaldinho's first sending off in Spain means the Brazilian international, the lynchpin of the side since his transfer from Paris Saint-Germain FC last July, is likely to be suspended for Wednesday's home game against Real Betis Balompié.

Rijkaard on track
Saturday's win moves Barcelona on to 59 points and keeps them on track to meet coach Frank Rijkaard's target of a return to the UEFA Champions League next season. Fourth-placed RC Deportivo La Coruña could reclaim third spot if they win away at Villarreal CF on Sunday.

Torres blow
Elsewhere on Saturday, fifth-placed Club Atlético de Madrid squandered the opportunity to tighten their grip on a UEFA Cup place when they lost 3-1 at Málaga CF, who moved up to sixth. Former Atlético player Diego Alonso scored twice for the home side.

Torres off
Atlético's leading striker Fernando Torres was sent off in the 79th minute and will miss next weekend's derby against Madrid. Finally, struggling RC Celta de Vigo drew 0-0 with Sevilla FC.

Last updated: 11/04/04 18.59CET

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