Ibrahimovic nets Barca winner

Ibrahimovic nets Barca winner


Champions Barca and second-placed Real were missing key players, with Lionel Messi out of the Catalan derby due to an ankle sprain and the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo and injured Kaka absent for the Valencia clash.

After a tight first half at the Mestalla, Real's Argentina striker Higuain broke the deadlock in the 54th minute with a header from Karim Benzema's cross before league top scorer David Villa equalised with his 12th of the season on the hour.
Marcelo set Higuain up to drive home his second five minutes later, Valencia substitute Joaquin made it 2-2 after 80 minutes but Real defender Ezequiel Garay, who replaced the injured Pepe just before the break, headed the winner three minutes later.
Barca top the standings on 39 points from 15 matches, five ahead of Real who have a game in hand. Valencia are third with 28 and Sevilla, who play at Sporting Gijon on Sunday, are a further point back in fourth.

Higuain's Argentina team mate Messi was injured in Wednesday's Champions League victory at Dynamo Kiev, but was in the Nou Camp earlier on Saturday to show the fans the Ballon d'Or award he won this month.

His replacement, Pedro, fluffed a chance to put Barca ahead in the 14th minute when he robbed Francisco Chica but skewed his shot wide with Carlos Kameni's goal at his mercy.
Victor Valdes had to be alert to keep out Joan Verdu's dipping strike seconds later before Kameni acrobatically palmed away Thierry Henry's low effort.
Sweden striker Ibrahimovic converted a penalty in the 39th, after Baena impeded Xavi.
Barca's win equalled the club record of 15 consecutive matches undefeated set under Terry Venables at the start of the 1984/85 season.
Earlier on Saturday, teenage striker Iker Muniain came off the bench to inspire Athletic Bilbao to a 2-1 win at Real Zaragoza.

Midfielder Markel Susaeta netted the Basque club's second with nine minutes left after picking up Muniain's precise through ball before defender Carlos Diogo struck from distance for the home side in added time.

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