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Ronaldinho secures first win for Barca

The Brazilian scores twice as Barcelona notch their first win of the new season with a 3-1 victory over Athletico Bilbao.

sports Updated: Sep 03, 2007 15:58 IST
Ronaldinho brace secures first win for Barca

Brazilian Ronaldinho scored twice as title favourites Barcelona notched their first win of the new season with a convincing 3-1 victory over Athletico Bilbao on Sunday.

French international forward Thierry Henry, a 24-million-euro summer signing from Arsenal, made his first league start in Barcelona's colours but it was Ronaldinho who took the headlines.

Ronaldinho scored a trademark free-kick after just eight minutes, the club's first goal of the season, to ease the tension caused by last weekend's disappointing 0-0 draw against Racing Santander.

With the deadlock broken Barcelona poured forward and their slick passing too much for Bilbao and were awarded a penalty on 34 minutes when Henry was felled in the area.

Ronaldinho, the club's top-scorer last season with 21 goals, converted the penalty with aplomb to make it 2-0.

Henry came off to a standing ovation just after the hour mark with just a goal missing from a stellar display.

Bilbao pulled a goal back with 20 minutes left but Ivory Coast international Yaya Toure scored his first league goal shortly afterwards to clinch the spoils.

Barca could have scored many more but another stylish performance, following the 5-0 demolition of Italian champions Inter Milan on Wednesday, will encourage their fans and coach alike.

First Published: Sep 03, 2007 15:47 IST