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Barcelona win with late goals

February 26, 2006 11:36 IST

Late goals from Ronaldinho and Henrik Larsson gave Barcelona a 2-0 win over Real Zaragoza on Saturday as they extended their lead to nine points at the top of the Primera Liga.

The Brazilian broke the deadlock in a delicately balanced contest when he converted a penalty after Zaragoza midfielder Albert Celades was sent off 10 minutes from time for stopping a goal-bound shot on the line with his hand.

Swedish striker Larsson made sure of the victory two minutes later when he steered in from close range after a great cross from Samuel Eto'o.

The Cameroon striker had tried to leave the pitch a few minutes earlier after being subjected to racist abuse from the home fans, but was persuaded to continue playing by his team mates and Barca coach Frank Rijkaard.

Earlier, Atletico Madrid continued their impressive form under new coach Pepe Murcia when they stretched their winning run to six matches with the 5-0 demolition of basement side Malaga.

Atletico roared into a 2-0 lead at the Calderon inside the first 10 minutes thanks to an opportunist double from leading striker Fernando Torres.

The Spain forward grabbed his first when he poked home from close range, after Malaga keeper Inaki Goitia spilled a powerful half-volley from Argentine forward Maxi Rodriguez, and added a second when he fired in on the turn from just inside the area.

Malaga, who had won just one of their previous 12 matches, were 3-0 down five minutes before halftime, Maxi ghosting in at the far post after Mateja Kezman headed the ball into his path following a free kick.

Kezman spurned the chance to add another before halftime when he fired a penalty straight at Goitia after the Malaga keeper had felled Maxi in the area.

The fourth did not take long in coming, though, substitute Juan Valera scoring the goal of the night when he blasted a 25-metre drive into the top corner a minute after stepping on to the pitch midway through the second half.

Malaga were reduced to 10 men when Portuguese midfielder Duda was red carded 12 minutes from time and Valera took advantage to head home a fifth goal in the final minute.

The victory gave Atletico their longest winning run in 14 years and pushed them up to seventh in the table.

Both matches were preceded by a minute's silence in honour of the Primera Liga's all-time top scorer Telmo Zarra who died after a heart attack at the age of 85 on Thursday.

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