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Eto'o double rescues Barca

February 15, 2009 14:15 IST

Samuel Eto'o scored twice to help Barcelona rally from two down to draw 2-2 at Real Betis on Saturday, stretching their Primera Liga lead to 13 points.

Champions Real Madrid [Images] can trim the deficit to 10 at Sporting Gijon on Sunday after Pep Guardiola's side dropped their first points since a 1-1 draw with Getafe in November.

Barca have struggled at Betis in the past decade, winning twice in 10 matches and losing five including a 3-2 defeat last season in a game they led 2-0.

Guardiola left Lionel Messi [Images] and Thierry Henry [Images] out of his starting line-up and Betis took advantage, stunning the visitors with two goals in 25 minutes.

Defender Melli beat Sergio Busquets to a corner and sent a looping header past goalkeeper Victor Valdes. A defensive lapse then let Mark Gonzalez in to double the home side's lead. Sergio Garcia's cross from the right was allowed through to the Chilean forward and he volleyed low across Valdes into the bottom corner.

Barca pulled one back in first-half injury time when Andres Iniesta went to ground in the area under a challenge from Juande and the referee pointed to the penalty spot, even though replays showed there was little contact.

Ricardo Pereira blocked the first effort by Eto'o but the Cameroon striker drove home the rebound.

Ricardo produced stunning saves to deny substitute Henry twice and Gerard Pique once as Barca pressed for an equaliser.

With the visitors pushing forward, Ricardo Oliveira had a chance to make it 3-1 when he went clear through but Valdes blocked the Brazilian's weak effort.

Eto'o grabbed his second double in consecutive weeks with a smart finish through the legs of Fernando Vega with six minutes left, the 23rd goal of the season for the league's top scorer.

"We were pushing for the win and I have no reason to reproach my players," Guardiola told reporters. "It was a good performance against a very good team."

Osasuna extended their unbeaten run to four matches with a 0-0 draw at Deportivo Coruna but the Pamplona-based club remain 17th, one spot above the relegation zone.


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