Barcelona beat Deportivo 2-1

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Xavi Hernandez and Ronaldinho scored a goal each on Sunday to help FC Barcelona rally to beat Deportivo La Coruna 2-1.

Updated: December 11, 2007 16:57 IST
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Xavi Hernandez and Ronaldinho scored a goal each on Sunday to help FC Barcelona rally to beat Deportivo La Coruna 2-1 and stay in second place in the Spanish league.

Xavi poked in a loose ball in the 71st minute after Carles Puyol had tried to pick out substitute Bojan Krkic with a centering pass from the right.

Ronaldinho scored the equalizer in the 40th after Cristian Gonzalez tripped up Andres Iniesta along his own goal line.

Cristian had given Deportivo the lead in the third minute when Victor Valdes misjudged his long-range shot.

Real Madrid, which beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Saturday, leads the league with 35 points from 15 games. Barcelona has 31 points, one more than Atletico Madrid, which beat Getafe 1-0 from Diego Forlan's 20th-minute goal.

Villarreal dropped to fourth with 28 points after losing 1-0 to Real Betis on a goal by Jesus "Capi" Capitan.

Betis goalkeeper Ricardo saved two shots in the 71st as coach Francisco Chaparro, who replaced the fired Hector Cuper on Monday, handed Villarreal a second straight loss to a lower table team.

Ricardo Oliveira scored two goals in the last four minutes as Zaragoza rallied for a 3-3 draw against Espanyol, which missed a chance to break into the top four.

Raul Tamudo, Valmiro "Valdo" Lopez and Pablo Zapaleta had all scored for Espanyol within an eight-minute span after Diego Milito gave Zaragoza the lead in the sixth minute.

Espanyol is fifth with 27 points after stretching its unbeaten streak to 11 games. Zaragoza has 19 points.

Also Sunday, it was: Racing Santander 3, Mallorca 1; Sevilla 3, Murcia 1; Levante 0, Recreativo Huelva 2; and Almeria 1, Valladolid 0.

On Saturday, Valencia drew 0-0 at Osasuna to move to 25 points.

With Thierry Henry injured, Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard returned Samuel Eto'o to the starting lineup in his first appearance since undergoing thigh surgery over three months ago.

The Cameroon striker was joined by Ronaldinho, who had come off the bench in the past two games, in the starting 11.

The Camp Nou had little chance to enjoy Eto'o's return when Cristian's cross-goal shot beat Valdes.

Eto'o managed a shot in the 12th, and Gustavo Munua was tested again 10 minutes later when the Deportivo goalkeeper dove to deny Ronaldinho's curling free kick from the edge of the area.

Francisco "Cisco" Jimenez found himself alone in front of Valdes in the 25th but sent his header over goal.

Deco replaced Gianluca Zambrotta to start the second half in his first appearance since Oct 20.

Eto'o's return lasted 64 minutes. Rijkaard then brought on Krkic, and the Spanish teenager helped winger Lionel Messi stretch Deportivo's defense as Barcelona dominated to drop Deportivo into 19th place with 13 points.

Forlan ran onto Simao Sabrosa's centering pass for his sixth goal of the season as Atletico, which has only lost once in its last 11 in all competitions, has a league-high 19 points from its last eight games.

Both teams at the Vicente Calderon stadium were down to nine men by the 78th minute, with substitute Cosmin Contra replacing the ejected Roberto Abbondanzieri in goal since Getafe had used up all of its substitutions.

Atletico goalkeeper Christian Abbiati dove to stop Kepa Blanco's close-range shot in the 87th to preserve the win.

Abbiati had also come up big in the 50th, deflecting Esteban Granero's long shot high before rushing back to his line to deny Juan Albin Albin after the Getafe striker got his head to the looping rebound.

Jorge Lopez, Aldo Pedro Duscher and Pedro Munitis all scored in Santander as Racing rebounded from Achille Webo's 12th-minute opener to overtake Valencia for sixth with 26 points.

Luis Fabiano scored two goals and Enzo Maresca added a penalty score as Sevilla improved to 19 points from its first league victory since a 2-0 win over Madrid on Nov. 3. Substitute Fernando Baiano had Murcia's goal in the 66th.

Javier Camunas and Jesus Vazquez both scored as Recreativo won its second straight at last-place Levante.

Alvaro Negredo scored a tricky winner in the 76th at Almeria, volleying Miguel "Corona" Perez's flick-up on a free kick after Valladolid's Josa Antonio Galvo was sent off.

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