Mon, Dec 11, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Ronaldinho goal keeps Barcelona top of Primera Liga

AP AND DPA , MADRID

Barcelona stayed on top of the Spanish first division thanks to a 1-0 home win on Saturday over lowly Real Sociedad.

Barca's only goal was put away by Ronaldinho, who now goes back atop the scorers' chart with 10 goals.

They managed to hold on at the end despite the sending-off of left-back Sylvinho, who picked up two yellow cards within five minutes.

"This was a good way for us to say goodbye before leaving," said Barca playmaker Xavi Hernandez, with a looming trip to Japan for the World Club Championship.

Xavi admitted that the team was "a little tired towards the end," because of their midweek Champions League exertions against Werder Bremen.

Despite their fatigue, the Catalans dominated from start to finish and had three would-be goals disallowed for offside.

The only goal came in the 61st minute, when Ludovic Giuly centred for Ronaldinho to score with his left foot.

Real Sociedad only threatened to equalize when Sylvinho was sent off, 10 minutes from time, and Victor Valdes had to pull off a sharp save from veteran Darko Kovacevic in injury time.

Their latest defeat leaves Sociedad second from bottom with just six points.

Meanwhile Ernesto Chevanton's 78th-minute overhead kick gave Sevilla a 2-1 victory over Real Madrid on Saturday and moved it into sole possession of second place.

David Beckham gave Madrid the lead in the 14th with a 25m free kick before Frederic Kanoute tied it four minutes later with his league-tying 11th goal of the campaign.

Sevilla hasn't lost at home in 10 months and improved to 7-0 at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium this season.

David Beckham started for Madrid for only the eighth time in 22 games after playing well in the 2-2 Champions League draw at Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday.

The Englishman put Madrid in sight of its sixth road win in seven games in the 13th minute when his right-footed free kick went over outstretched goalkeeper Andres Palop.

Kanoute collected fellow striker Luis Fabiano's rebound off the crossbar and struck a low, left-footed shot past goalie Iker Casillas four minutes later to tie it 1-1.

Chevanton's winner moved the UEFA Cup champions past Madrid and into second place.

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