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Late penalty leads Barcelona past Zaragoza 2-1

The Brazilian midfielder converted in the 83rd minute, moments after Zaragoza defender Juan Francisco Garcia received a yellow card for a dubious hand ball inside the area.
By HT Correspondent | AP, Madrid
UPDATED ON FEB 17, 2008 05:58 PM IST

Ronaldinho's late penalty gave FC Barcelona a 2-1 victory over Zaragoza and pulled it within five points of Spanish league leader Real Madrid, which was upset by Real Betis 2-1.

The Brazilian midfielder converted in the 83rd minute, moments after Zaragoza defender Juan Francisco Garcia received a yellow card for a dubious hand ball inside the area.

"I'm sure that penalty would not have been called at other grounds. What's happened is very interesting since the league is now down to five points," Zaragoza goalkeeper Cesar Sanchez said.

Barcelona improved to 51 points, while Madrid fell to a lightly regarded team for the second time in three weeks.

Thierry Henry gave Barcelona the lead in the 35th, chesting down Deco's long pass before sliding a right-footed shot past Sanchez.

Zaragoza's Ricardo Oliveira ran onto Sergio Garcia's precise pass along the right before firing under Victor Valdes from a tight angle in the 53rd.

Zaragoza missed a chance in the 43rd when Diego Milito sent his penalty kick over the bar.

Earlier, Edu Schmidt scored for Betis, then set up Mark Gonzalez for the winner.

Edu leapt over defender Marcelo in the 32nd to connect with Mariano Pavone's long cross and head it in at the far post. Four minutes later, Gonzalez met the Brazilian's cross to score with a near identical goal.

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