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Barça stride on, Silva inspires Valencia

Published: Saturday 3 January 2009, 23.00CET
Andrés Iniesta returned from injury to score a vital goal as FC Barcelona beat RCD Mallorca to extend their lead in Spain to eleven points, Valencia CF now their closest challengers after defeating Club Atlético de Madrid.
Barça stride on, Silva inspires Valencia
Andrés Iniesta marked his return with a goal ©Getty Images

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Published: Saturday 3 January 2009, 23.00CET

Barça stride on, Silva inspires Valencia

Andrés Iniesta returned from injury to score a vital goal as FC Barcelona beat RCD Mallorca to extend their lead in Spain to eleven points, Valencia CF now their closest challengers after defeating Club Atlético de Madrid.

Andrés Iniesta returned from injury to score a vital goal as FC Barcelona beat RCD Mallorca to extend their lead atop the Spanish Liga to eleven points, Valencia CF now their closest challengers after David Silva inspired a defeat of Club Atlético de Madrid in Saturday's late game.

Mallorca opener
The Spain midfielder, making his first appearance after an eight-week injury lay-off, was at the far post to tap in Eidur Gudjohnsen's low cross in the 76th minute to score Barça's second and put them ahead for the first time in the match. Aritz Adúriz had stunned the home fans after just 15 minutes when he stole the ball from Yaya Touré in midfield, outpaced defender Víctor Sánchez and clipped the ball over Víctor Valdés to give the visitors the lead.

Made amends
Barcelona soon equalised when Thierry Henry controlled Xavi Hernández's deep corner at the far post and swept the ball into the net just after the half-hour mark while Touré made amends for his earlier mistake with a well-taken goal in added time, after Josemi had been sent off for the visitors. Pep Guardiola's team top the standings with 44 points from 17 matches, while Valencia (33 points) leapfrog Atlético (30) and Sevilla FC (31) after David Silva scored twice in the defeat of Los Rojiblancos.

Great goals
Valencia made a storming start at Mestalla and took a deserved lead from the spot in the 34th minute when David Villa stroked in his 13th top-flight goal of the season. Fellow Spanish international David Silva, making only his second start of an injury-hit campaign, doubled the lead in the 39th minute and then wrapped up the points on 69 with a pair of exquisite left-foot finishes. Diego Forlán scored a penalty for Atlético in first half added time.

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Last updated: 04/01/09 21.06CET

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