Barca hammer six goals past a hapless Atletico

Updated on May 22, 2007 03:26 PM IST
Barcelona, who relinquished top spot after last weekend bounced back with a 6-0 destruction of Atletico Madrid, to inflict the heaviest-ever home league defeat on Atletico.
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Reuters | By, Madrid

Barcelona, who relinquished top spot after last weekend’s 1-1 draw at home to Real Betis, bounced back with a 6-0 destruction of Atletico Madrid, to inflict the heaviest-ever home league defeat on Atletico.

With three games left to play, Real are level on 69 points with Barcelona, but they lead the standings thanks to their better head-to-head record.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid held on to the lead after a closely-fought 3-2 win over Recreativo Huelva on Sunday. Real looked as though they might lose top spot after Recre fought back from 2-0 down to level at 2-2 with five minutes to go. But Brazilian fullback Roberto Carlos snatched a vital win when he dinked home in injury time.

UEFA Cup winners Sevilla are just two points further back, staying in the hunt for the title with a 2-1 comeback win at Deportivo Coruna. Valencia are in fourth on 65.

Real knew they had to deliver the goods after Sevilla’s win at Deportivo and they made a perfect start when the unmarked Robinho headed in from six metres after David Beckham whipped in a fine curling cross from the right in the ninth minute.

Real extended their lead eight minutes into the second half when Ruud van Nistelrooy took his tally for the season to 22 with a penalty given after Recre ‘keeper Bertrand Laquait brought down Robinho as the Brazilian raced towards the byline.

Recre pulled one back when Jesus Vazquez converted a penalty after substitute Ikechukwu Uche was felled by Sergio Ramos and Real began to look a little nervous.

Uche, who ran the Real defence ragged in the final quarter, made it 2-2 when he fired in from a corner, but Real, who had snatched last-gasp wins over Espanyol and Sevilla in their previous two league outings, refused to throw in the towel.

Lionel Messi set Barca on their way to a crushing win at a rain-soaked Calderon with a superbly crafted goal six minutes before the break. Messi exchanged a one-two with Samuel Eto’o and then fired past Atletico goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar .

Gianluca Zambrotta made it 2-0 when he lobbed into the far corner and Eto’o added a third on the stroke of halftime, poking home after Cuellar had fumbled a Deco cross. Ronaldinho made it 4-0, Messi chipped in a fifth and Andres Iniesta made it half a dozen.

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