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Ibrahimovic on target again as Barca go top

sports Updated: Sep 13, 2009 00:18 IST

AFP
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Barcelona's record signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic made it two goals in as many games as the Spanish champions moved to the top of the table with a 2-0 victory at Getafe on Saturday.

Ibrahimovic followed up his debut goal against Sporting Gijon with a vital opening goal on 65th minutes before substitute Lionel Messi grabbed a second to make it a perfect two wins for Barcelona.

The goals are a real boost for Ibrahimovic as he bids to justify his 69 million euro transfer fee and the Swede can now look forward to facing old club Inter Milan in Wednesday's Champions League match at the San Siro.

Barca took nine games to reach the summit last season before staying there for the remainder of the campaign and coach Pep Guardiola will hope that is a good omen.

Guardiola chose to rest Messi, Dani Alves and Thierry Henry following international duty underlining the depth of his squad.

Ukraine centre-back Dmytro Chgrynskiy was handed a debut following his 25-million-euro move from Shakhtar Donetsk starting alongside Gerard Pique in defence.

Pedro and Jeffren, two players from the Barcelona youth system, started while Spanish international Andres Iniesta returned to the substitutes bench after over three months out with a torn thigh muscle.

Hosts Getafe had the better early chances against the treble winners and were unfortunate not to take a lead hitting the woodwork twice in the first half an hour.

Juan Albin's fierce shot hit the crossbar on 11 minutes and then Roberto Soldado rattled the post.

The warnings appeared to spur Barcelona into action and Ibrahimovic should have scored in the 43rd minute but his tame effort was foiled by Oscar Ustari.

Guardiola waited just 12 minutes into the second before making a change with Messi and Iniesta coming on.

Ibrahimovic provided the breakthrough when he converted an Eric Abidal cross before a trademark counter-attack ended with Messi slotting home on 78 minutes.

Elsewhere Atletico Madrid are still searching for their first win of the season after a disappointing 1-1 home draw against 10-man Racing Santander.

As planned Atletico fans staged protests at the club's lack of transfer activity creating a sombre mood at the Vicente Calderon.

The jeers turned to cheers in the 43rd minute when Jose Jurado struck home a left-footed effort to put Atletico ahead.

However, Racing equalised in first half stoppage-time through Oscar Serrano to abruptly halt the celebrations.

Racing had defender Jose Crespo sent off for a crude challenge on Simao two minutes after the interval but Atletico, beaten 3-0 in their season opener against Malaga, could not capitalise.

Later on Saturday Real Madrid travel to Espanyol in what will be the first competitive game at Espanyol's new Cornella-El Prat stadium.

It will be a special occasion for Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas who celebrates a decade between the posts after making his debut for Real on September 12, 1999 at Athletic Bilbao.

"It has been a wonderful decade," said Casilas. "We've had bad moments too, but the good ones outweigh the others by far."

Sevilla host promoted Real Zaragoza in Saturday's late match as they try to register their first points of the season following an opening day loss at Valencia.