Barcelona beat Villarreal 2-0

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Barcelona went back to the top of the La Liga standings after a 2-0 win at Villarreal on Sunday.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:53 IST
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Barcelona went back to the top of the La Liga standings after a 2-0 win at Villarreal on Sunday. Before the weekend started, Villarreal had climbed to third place in the La Liga table thanks to a nine match unbeaten run. This was a tough trip for Barcelona, who also suffered the blow of losing influential midfielder Xavi for the rest of the season to a knee injury. The home team was the first to threaten but Joseco's attempted back heel from Juan Pablo Sorin's cross went wide of the Barcelona goal. Taking the lead In the 24th minute the visitors took the lead as Ronaldinho's free-kick caused Sebastian Viera some problems. The goalkeeper's punch gave Juan Manuel Pena no time to react, and the defender was credited with the own goal. Replays confirmed that the central defender's thigh provided the final touch. Ronaldinho again threatened with a free-kick on the half-hour mark, but this time Viera reacted well to tip the ball over the bar. Eighteen minutes into the second half luck deserted Viera again, as Deco's long range strike took a deflection and left the goalkeeper wrong-footed. Right on top The champions weren't complaining and they soon went in search of a third, but Lionel Messi's shot was tipped around the post by the busy Viera. Flamboyant Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes was then in the action as he acrobatically denied Jose Mari. Not everything went Barca's way on the night, with Mexican defender Rafael Marquez sent off following a second booking in the closing stages. The game finished 2-0 as Barcelona went top of the standings, ahead of Osasuna on goal difference. (AP)