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Eto'o strikes twice as Barca go 14 points clear

Written by: Staff
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MADRID, Mar 22 (Reuters) Striker Samuel Eto'o scored a sparkling double to help Barcelona come from a goal down to beat Getafe 3-1 and increase their lead in the Primera Liga to 14 points.

The Catalans fell behind against an ambitious Getafe after an early goal from former Barca midfielder Nano, but levelled when defender Anibal Matellan turned into his own net midway through the half.

Eto'o put Barca in front early in the second half when he added the finishing touch to a gleaming counter-attack and made it 3-1 with a deft finish that took his league tally to 22.

The champions, who have nine games left to play, lead the standings on 67 points, 14 ahead of second-placed Real Madrid and 15 clear of Valencia and Osasuna. Getafe are 11th.

Real Madrid, who have drawn their last two league matches 0-0, travel to Real Zaragoza today to meet the team that crushed them 6-1 when they met at La Romareda in the King's Cup last month.

Valencia host regional rivals Villarreal and Osasuna entertain Real Sociedad.

DREAM START Getafe got off to a dream start at the Nou Camp when Nano got in between two defenders to head home a Mario Cotelo cross at the near post with less than five minutes on the clock.

Barca, who were without injured central defenders Rafael Marquez and Edmilson, looked shaky in defence and Cotelo and striker Veljko Paunovic both went close to adding another for Getafe in the first 20 minutes.

But the Catalans were gifted an equaliser soon after when Matellan bundled the ball into his own net after French winger Ludovic Giuly had headed a Giovanni van Bronckhorst cross towards the far post.

It was Getafe, however, who looked the more dangerous in attack and Nano had the ball in the net just after a free kick from Mariano Pernia only to see the goal disallowed for offside.

Getafe almost regained the lead at the start of the second half when set-piece expert Pernia had a fierce free kick turned past the post by keeper Victor Valdes.

But Barca broke clear from the resulting corner and Eto'o put the finishing touch to a stunning passing move to give the Catalans a 2-1 lead.

Deco began the move when he dinked the ball out towards Mark van Bommel on the right, the Dutchman slipped a pass to Eto'o who exchanged a slick one-two with Giuly and then fired home for the 100th league goal of his career.

The three-times African Player of the Year made sure of the victory with another classy finish 17 minutes later, this time steering past keeper Luis Garcia with the outside of his foot after Ronaldinho had found him with a slid-rule pass across the area.

REUTERS DH RAI0449

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