Rivaldo scored two goals to direct FC Barcelona to an impressive 3-1 win over Sevilla FC on Sunday.
Rivaldo scored two and made another to direct FC Barcelona to an impressive 3-1 win over Sevilla FC in the Spanish first division.
The win pushed the Catalan side into fourth place in the table on 33 points, five points behind leaders Real Madrid CF, who beat Valencia CF in Sunday's late match. Fernando Morientes was the hero for Madrid, pouncing on a an error by David Albelda in the 72nd minute to steer the ball past Santiago Cañizares.
The game at the Camp Nou stadium burst into life after just five minutes when Tomas latched on to a Pablo Alfaro header to clip in at the far post and give Sevilla a surprise lead. But the visitors barely had time to celebrate, as Rivaldo finished off a superbly-worked move to equalise three minutes later. The Brazilian feigned to shoot with his right and then drilled home with his left after Patrick Kluivert had prised open the Sevilla defence with an exquisite backheel.
Rivaldo proceeded to run the show for the home side, but the Brazilian made an uncharacteristic error when he missed a penalty eight minutes from the break. Alfaro had held back the Barcelona forward as he darted inside the Sevilla box, but keeper Antonio Notario guessed right and saved the Brazilian's somewhat hesitant penalty.
Rivaldo on target
But Rivaldo more than made up for his miss. His swerving free-kick twelve minutes into the second half could not be gathered by Notario and Gabri gave Barcelona the lead as he slotted home the rebound. Four minutes later Rivaldo completed his masterclass as he spun another pin-point free-kick over the wall and inside the near post to secure the Barcelona win.
Former leaders RC Deportivo La Coruña continued their miserable run of away form as they slumped to a thoroughly-deserved 3-0 defeat against Real Valladolid. Defender Alberto Marcos hit the first after he was given a free run on the left wing, cutting inside one defender and then sending a 20-metre curler past keeper José Molina.
Poor away form
Straight from the restart Fernando Fernández saw his scooped shot take a deflection off a defender and loop over a helpless Molina into the net to make it 2-0. Fernando grabbed his second and Valladolid's third 12 minutes after the break as he took advantage of some more passive defending from Deportivo to head home from eight metres, leaving the Galician side with just one point from their last seven away games.
Alavés on song
Magno Mocelin scored the only goal as Deportivo Alavés beat CD Tenerife at the Mendizorroza stadium and UD Las Palmas proved too strong for RCD Mallorca, with Josico, Gabriel Schürrer and Nacho González securing a convincing 3-1 home victory. RC Celta de Vigo were held to a 1-1 draw by Club Atlético Osasuna and Real Zaragoza played out a goalless draw with RCD Espanyol at the La Romareda stadium.
In Sunday's other game, Real Betis Balompié led through a 47th-minute strike from Juanito only for Málaga CF to secure a share of the spoils with a goal from Litos. Betis also had Cesar de Loma Atienza sent off with three minutes of the match remaining. Athletic Club Bilbao remain in second spot on 34 points after their 2-1 win over Real Sociedad in the Basque derby on Saturday.