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Barca slip further, Sevilla crush local rivals
Ben Harding | September 17, 2007 10:18 IST
Shorn of regular strikers Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi [Images], Barcelona lacked penetration and now languish four points behind leaders and arch rivals Real Madrid who have nine.
"Again we lacked freshness," said coach Frank Rijkaard.
Osasuna's Javier Portillo wasted several chances including a 30-metre piledriver that Victor Valdes just managed to tip over the bar shortly after halftime.
Thierry Henry [Images] had the best opportunity for Barcelona but his bullet header was cleared off the line.
A subdued Ronaldinho [Images] was substituted midway through the second half and while Mexican prodigy Giovani dos Santos and Spain's under-17 international Bojan Krkic, on his league debut, were lively they did not come close to breaking the deadlock.
Sevilla had no such worries as Frederic Kanoute and Alexander Kerzhakov each scored twice to crush Recreativo and moved them within three points of Real with a game in hand.
The match was emotional because it was the first home game since midfielder Antonio Puerta collapsed at the club's Sanchez Pizjuan stadium and died three days later.
Sevilla, who lost just twice at home last season, never looked in danger and Russian Kerzhakov pounced on a parried shot to make it 1-0 after just 12 minutes.
Kanoute strolled through Recreativo's defence and rounded the keeper to score his second in the 34th. The Mali international broke clear again before the break to tuck away a looping through ball for his third goal in two games.
A minute later striker Aitor punished a napping Sevilla with a fierce strike and Recre briefly threatened their bigger rivals as Javier Guerrero hit the angle of bar and post.
The visitors then had a let off when Kerzhakov scooped a 68th minute penalty over the bar but he made amends seven minutes later by rifling home from the corner of the area.
Kanoute was replaced by Arouna Kone, the 12 million euros ($16.66 million) Ivory Coast striker, who came on to make his debut midway through the second half.
Recreativo's Edu Moya also left the pitch early when he was sent off five minutes from time.
Big spenders Atletico Madrid are still looking for a first win after a 1-1 draw at promoted Real Murcia left them with just two points.
Argentine striker Sergio Aguero gave Atletico an early lead but Francisco Gallardo struck a late equaliser when he wrong-footed Costinha and fired into the far corner.
Their UEFA Cup rivals Villarreal snatched a 1-0 win at Real Mallorca thanks to Nihat Kahveci's long range free kick but were fortunate when a late Mallorca effort was ruled offside.
Espanyol beat visitors Getafe 1-0 and Deportivo Coruna won by the same scoreline at home to a disappointing Real Betis. Pedro Munitis gave Racing Santander a 1-0 victory over Levante.