Barça rise continues

FC Barcelona's eighth consecutive league victory nudged the Catalan side into third place.

FC Barcelona moved up to third position in the Primera División on Sunday with a 2-0 defeat of bottom club Real Murcia CF, extending their winning run to eight league matches.

Ronaldinho goal
The Catalan club leapfrogged RC Deportivo La Coruña in the standings after Javier Irureta's side suffered a surprise 4-2 defeat at the hands of 17th-placed RCD Mallorca. Javier Saviola gave his team an early lead, tapping in at the far post following a third-minute free-kick and Ronaldinho doubled the advantage when he converted a cross from Marc Overmars midway through the second half. Barça last achieved eight straight wins in the 1998/99 season under Dutch coach Louis van Gaal.

Rufete double
Valencia CF, meanwhile, made the most of Real Madrid CF’s 1-1 draw against Real Zaragoza at the Santiago Bernabéu on Saturday, edging out RC Celta de Vigo 2-0 at the Balaídos stadium to reduce the gap at the top of the standings to four points. Francisco Rufete was the architect of the victory, scoring in either half. The midfield player pounced on a rebound for the opener in the 40th minute and finished off a fine counterattacking move in added time to seal the victory.

Shock result
Mallorca caused the weekend's big upset with their 4-2 defeat of Deportivo. The islanders had already overcome the Galician side 2-0 at the Riazor earlier in the season and went about securing a second success immediately, opening the scoring in the sixth minute through Fernando Correa before Pedro Munitis equalised. Iván Ramis broke the deadlock but Samuel Eto’o made it 3-1 from the spot and although Djalminha reduced the deficit, substitute Jesús Perera’s 85th-minute effort applied the gloss finish to a comfortable win.

Salva winner
A goal deep into added time from Salva allowed Málaga CF to pick up a surprise 2-1 triumph against fifth-placed Athletic Club Bilbao. Real Valladolid also defeated a team above them in the table, seeing off Sevilla FC to move 13th. Jonathan Martín headed his team into the lead in the 52nd minute and Jesús Sánchez added another from the spot. CA Osasuna slipped to seventh following their 1-1 draw against Real Betis Balompié.

Anderson strike
Villarreal CF, in eighth, followed up their 2-0 UEFA Cup defeat of AS Roma in midweek with a 2–1 victory against Albacete Balompié. The home side went behind to Antonio Pacheco’s fifth-minute goal and were forced to wait until the 60th minute before defender Fabricio Coloccini headed in the equaliser. Brazilian striker Sonny Anderson capitalised on indecision in the visiting defence to increase the advantage seven minutes later. Finally, Real Racing Club Santander overcame RCD Espanyol 1-0 away from home thanks to a 57th-minute goal from Fernando Morán.