Atletico stop Barca's winning run
Fernando Torres scored twice as Atletico Madrid beat Barcelona 3-1 in the Spanish league.india Updated: Feb 06, 2006 11:38 IST
Fernando Torres scored twice and Maxi Rodriguez added another Sunday, and Atletico Madrid beat FC Barcelona 3-1 to end the leader's 14-game winning streak in the Spanish league.
Barcelona, lacking Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto'o together with four other players, failed to equal the record number of 15 straight league victories set by Real Madrid in the 1960-61 season. Barcelona lead the league with 52 points after 22 games, nine more than Valencia and 10 ahead of Real Madrid and Osasuna. Barcelona's loss was their first at home this season and came four days after they were eliminated from the Copa del Rey quarterfinals by Zaragoza.
Eleventh-place Atletico, who also beat Barcelona at the Vicente Calderon stadium on Sept 18,are the only team to have overcome the defending champions in the league this season.
"Today wasn't our day. We were below par," Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard was quoted as saying by news agency Efe. "We have to react and rediscover the form we've shown up to now." Atletico captain Torres rifled home in the 33rd minute after a cross by midfielder Ariel Ibagaza led to a mix-up between Barcelona defenders Oleguer Presas and Gabri Garcia.
Martin Petrov created the visitors' second goal in the 47th by charging down the left wing and passing across goal for Argentine forward Rodriguez to score.
Barcelona striker Henrik Larsson reduced the deficit in the 65th when he steered home Andres Iniesta's pass on the left. But Torres restored Atletico's two-goal lead on Rodriguez's headed pass 11 minutes later.
Atletico's win was their third straight, continuing the team's improvement under coach Pepe Murcia, who replaced Carlos Bianchi last month.
Barcelona set a record this season by winning 18 matches in all competitions, a streak which ended on Jan 26 when they lost 4-2 against Zaragoza in the Copa del Rey.
Other 22nd-round results were: Sevilla 0, Osasuna 1; Zaragoza 4, Real Betis 3; Villarreal 1, Cadiz 1; Real Sociedad 2, Mallorca 1; Getafe 2, Alaves 2; and Racing Santander 0, Celta Vigo 1. On Saturday, Madrid crushed Espanyol 4-0, Valencia beat Deportivo La Coruna 1-0 and Malaga edged Athletic Bilbao 2-1. In Sunday's late game, Osasuna striker Savo Milosevic headed home in the 61st to beat sixth-place Sevilla and end his team's four-game winless streak.
Sevilla defender David Castedo was ejected in injury time for insulting the assistant referee.
Zaragoza's Diego Milito took his season's tally to 11 goals by scoring twice in his team's win over Betis.
Milito netted in the 11th and the 20th minutes, with Oscar Gonzalez and Sergio Garcia adding a goal each in-between to help Zaragoza race into a four-goal lead at their La Romareda stadium. Zaragoza were then rocked when Betis striker Dani Martin scored in the 21st, 49th and 61st minutes.
Zaragoza's Chus Herrero was ejected in the 81st, with Betis' Fernando Varela also receiving his marching orders 10 minutes later. Villarreal's draw at their El Madrigal stadium with struggling Cadiz dropped them to seventh place.
Forward Alexandre Medina opened the scoring for the visitors after just 16 seconds when he fired past Villarreal goalkeeper Sebastian Viera following defender Rodolfo Arruabarrena's loss of possession.
Villarreal's Javier Calleja equalized in the 62nd minute, moments after appearing as a substitute.
Villarreal defender Juan Manuel Pena was ejected in the 81st. Sociedad's new coach, Gonzalo Arconada, who replaced Jose Maria Amorrortu on Monday, saw his team beat last-place Mallorca after a late goal by substitute Mark Gonzalez, on loan from Liverpool. Striker Morten Skoubo scored for Sociedad in the 13th minute, with Leonardo Pisculichi equalizing for Mallorca in the 34th. Getafe striker Daniel "Guiza" Gonzalez scored an injury-time equalizer to earn his team a draw with lowly Alaves. The home team netted through defender Mariano Pernia's third-minute penalty, with Alaves then scoring in each half through striker John Aloisi and Rodolfo Bodipo.
A last-minute goal by Jesus Perera earned Celta a 1-0 victory at Santander, moving the winners up to fifth place.
First Published: Feb 06, 2006 11:38 IST