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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Barca give Rijkaard a winning send off

Barca give Rijkaard a winning send off

May 18, 2008 15:09 IST

A hat-trick from Giovani dos Santos helped Barcelona to a 5-3 victory away to relegated Real Murcia on Saturday which gave coach Frank Rijkaard a winning send off in his last league game in charge.

- Rijkaard era comes to an end at Barcelona

Murcia took an early lead through Juan Ochoa, but three from Giovani and one each from Samuel Eto'o and Thierry Henry made sure of third place in the Primera Liga for Barca.

Near the end, Ivan Alonso pulled one back for Murcia from the penalty spot and Abel Gomez curled in a free kick.

Barca finish the season with 67 points from 38 games, three ahead of fourth-placed Atletico Madrid who visit Valencia on Sunday. Barca have the superior head-to-head record over Atletico.

Murcia striker Alonso headed against the crossbar early on and had another pushed round the post soon after as the visitors struggled under the high ball.

From the ensuing corner defender Ochoa rose at the near post unopposed to flick the home side in front.

Barca responded with a well-worked goal in the 23rd as Henry played a one-two with Lionel Messi on the edge of the area, and crossed for Eto'o to sidefoot into the net.

Henry broke clear on to a long ball to put his side in front three minutes later, and Murcia's defence were caught pushing up again as Eto'o sprinted clear to unselfishly lay the ball off for Giovani to slot home the third before the break.

The Mexican youngster scored with a clever lob for the fourth just after the restart, and calmly curled in a nonchalant shot from the edge of the area for the fifth, which had Rijkaard cheerily applauding from the bench.

On Sunday, Valladolid, Recreativo Huelva, Osasuna and Real Zaragoza fight it out to avoid the last relegation slot, and champions Real Madrid hope striking Levante turn up and play at the Bernabeu when they plan to celebrate winning the title.

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