Saturday, 12 September 2009

Football : Ibrahimovic inspires Barca victory





























Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Lionel Messi led Barcelona to a 2-0 Spanish league win at Getafe while rivals Real Madrid beat Espanyol 3-0 after record signing Cristiano Ronaldo came on as a second-half substitute to score.
Ibrahimovic toe-poked Seydou Keita's deflected centre pass under goalkeeper Oscar Ustari and off the inside of the far post to open in the 66th minute.
The Sweden striker controlled with his chest to cross for a streaking Messi to head home the second for the Spanish champions in the 79th.
Lucrative sub
Ronaldo, signed this summer from Manchester United, watched from the bench as Esteban Granero fired Madrid ahead in the 40th after being set up by Kaka.
The Brazil playmaker then fed Jose Maria "Guti'' Gutierrez in the 77th for the second before the Portugal winger scored his second of the season in injury time.
"He's a player who's still adapting to a new league so I don't think we can ask much more,'' coach Manuel Pellegrino said of Ronaldo.
Barcelona and Real Madrid both have a maximum six points while Atletico Madrid remain without a win after drawing 1-1 against Racing Santander.
Brazil striker Luis Fabiano scored two goals as Sevilla rebounded from an opening-day defeat to beat Zaragoza 4-1.
Fabiano beat Juan Pablo Carrizo to Alvaro Negredo's flick-on to tip the ball over the Zaragoza goalkeeper in first-half injury time and then slotted a rebound past the Argentine 'keeper in the 87th.
Abdoulay Konko had put Sevilla ahead in the eighth minute after a feed from Renato before Javier Arizmendi equalised in the 33rd with his second goal of the season. Diego Perotti scored Sevilla's third in the 57th from a hard shot.
Iniesta return
Results & fixtures
Saturday 12 September At' Madrid 1-1 R Santander Espanyol 0-3 Real Madrid Getafe 0-2 Barcelona Sevilla 4-1 Real ZaragozaSunday 13 September Depor La Coruna v Malaga Sporting Gijon v Almeria Tenerife v Osasuna Valladolid v Valencia Villarreal v Mallorca Xerez v Athletic BilbaoBarcelona welcomed back Andres Iniesta for the first time since the Champions League final victory in May, but it was the host who nearly scored first.
Getafe nearly went ahead behind first-half pressure that included Juan Angel Albin hitting the crossbar from long range in the 12th before Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes saved Roberto Soldado's point-blank attempt.
Barcelona finally rallied with Keita slashing wide a minute later before Ustari got down to stop Ibrahimovic's low shot from inside the area just before half-time.
"We were lucky to go into half-time tied,'' Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said.
"In the second half we were much better.''
Ustari did well again in the 59th to tip Xavi Hernandez's swivelled volley over the crossbar, but Getafe's defence was troubled by Ibrahimovic who warmed up for a midweek Champions League game against former club Inter Milan with his second goal in as many games.
"Ibrahimovic was extraordinary,'' Guardiola said.
Messi, who came on as in the 57th, scored in his first appearance of the season after the Argentina winger skipped an opening-day win over Sporting Gijon for international duty.
Jarque memorial
In the first game at Espanyol's Cornella-El Prat stadium, a minute's silence was held to remember Daniel Jarque, the Espanyol captain who died during the preseason.
Pellegrini watched uncomfortably as only poor finishing kept Espanyol from taking the lead in the first half. Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas blocked Moises Hurtado's shot from in front of goal with his legs in the 20th.
Kaka played Granero into the area and the Spanish midfielder beat Carlos Kameni at the far post to give his team the lead.
Pellegrini finally brought Ronaldo in for the ineffective Karim Benzema in the 66th, and Raul Gonzalez came on for Gonzalo Higuain two minutes before Guti beat Kameni.
Guti played Ronaldo through down the flank and the winger beat Kameni with a low shot.
Atletico took the lead at the Vicente Calderon stadium in the 43rd when Jose Manuel Jurado left-footed into the right side of the goal from a set piece.
But Oscar Serrano rifled a left-footed shot into the roof of the net to equalise two minutes later.
Atletico couldn't capitalise on Jose Angel Rojo's sending off in the 47th and angry Atletico fans vented jeers at the club's directors throughout as Atletico failed to impress following a 3-0 opening day defeat to Malaga.
"It's clear we didn't have a great game but we tried and we had occasions,'' said Atletico coach Abel Resino.

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