Barcelona bags victory

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Barcelona won over an 10-man Real Sociedad on Sunday.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:50 IST
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Barcelona's bid for a first La Liga title since 1998 continued on Sunday evening at the Nou Camp as they entertained Real Sociedad. The visitors had not won at the home of the Catalan giants since 1991 and breaking that unwanted sequence looked highly unlikely when Barca were awarded a penalty after just four minutes. Carlos Puyol's long ball found the prolific Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o. He played the ball into the path of midfielder Andres Iniesta, who fell under a challenge from Luis Alberto and referee Rodriguez Santiago pointed to the spot. Bitter complain The Real Sociedad players complained bitterly to the referee and the replay proved that Alberto had played and won the ball fairly. However, justice was done as Eto'o missed the spot-kick as he struck the inside of the post before the ball ricocheted to safety. Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho made a note of that miss as he watched from the stands ahead of the UEFA Champions League clash against Barca in February. Goalless at the interval, but the Basque side were reduced to 10 men after 62 minutes when Brazilian Silvinho was held back by Xabi Prieto and promptly sent off for a second bookable offence. Two minutes later, Eto'o broke the offside trap with a well-timed run, but after turning Luis Alberto, he hit the near post with Asier Riego beaten before Xavi screwed his effort wide. With 10 minutes remaining, Sociedad had the chance to finally win at the Nou Camp, but although Nihat Kahveci was onside, the Turkish striker was foiled by a fine block from Victor Valdes. Kahveci was to rue that miss within a minute as Xavi's corner was flicked on by the head of Rafael Marquez and Eto'o made amends as he headed home after 81 minutes. The victory left Frank Rijkaard's side seven points clear of arch-rivals Real Madrid and nine points clear of last season's champions Valencia at the top of the Primera League. (AP)