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Barcelona beaten in Liga by Espanyol

india Updated: Jan 14, 2007 19:13 IST

Barcelona's appalling form continued with a 1-3 away defeat to crosstown rivals Espanyol in the Liga football tournament.

Barcelona's second Liga defeat leaves them in the second place, two points behind leaders Sevilla though with a game in hand.

Barcelona are now just two points ahead of in-form Valencia, who moved up to third on Saturday with a 3-0 destruction of local neighbours Levante. Espanyol's shock win takes them up to eighth.

Barcelona have picked up just two points from their last three matches - their worst run since 2003. They dominated the derby from start to finish, with Espanyol content to play on the break.

Ronaldinho hit the Espanyol bar with a free-kick in the tenth minute - but then completely disappeared.

Espanyol went ahead in the 30th minute, when Luis Garcia flicked in a clever centre from the left from little Raul Tamudo.

Supersub Javier Saviola levelled in the 59th minute with a fierce drive from just outside the box.

But just five minutes later, Tamudo restored Espanyol's lead by heading in a centre from Sergio Sanchez. Espanyol sub Walter Pandiani then missed two good chances to make it 3-1, with the Barca defence in tatters.

Francisco Rufete, however, made no mistake from close range in injury time, after having been set up by the indefatigable Luis Garcia.

"We were not our usual selves tonight," admitted Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta. "We need to learn from tonight's defeat and from our recent results."

Valencia missed good chances to go ahead in the first half. Straight after the restart Hugo Viana shot them ahead from outside the box - and the floodgates promptly opened.

Fernando Morientes quickly made it 2-0 then Roberto Ayala headed in the third.

"We're really enjoying ourselves at the moment and just can't wait for the next match to come along," said Ayala.

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