Pedro scores double as Barca enhance lead | Pakistan Today

Pedro scores double as Barca enhance lead

MADRID – Pedro Rodriguez netted a brace as champions Barcelona started 2011 with a nervy 2-1 home win over Levante on Sunday to move five points clear of Real Madrid at the Spanish first division summit.
Pedro struck on 47 and 59 minutes to clinch an 11th successive league victory for Barca and Real must now defeat derby rivals Getafe on Monday to move back to within two points of their bitter rivals.
Brazilian Dani Alves set up the opener for Pedro, faking to shoot twice before laying the ball back for the forward to drill home Barcelona’s first goal of the new year two minutes after the break.
Alves was the provider for the second goal as well, teeing up Pedro to curl a controlled shot into the corner. It was a special game for Spanish World Cup winner Xavi, who equalled Barcelona’s all-time appearance record. The 30-year-old playmaker made his 549th outing to draw level with legendary centre-back Migueli.
Uruguayan substitute Christian Stuani gave the champions a late scare by brilliantly volleying home on 80 minutes but Barcelona survived a tense final 10 minutes to take the points. Bilbao sank to a 2-1 defeat against Deportivo La Coruna earlier on Sunday, with Adrian Alvarez scoring both goals as the visitors recorded only their second away win of the campaign. Elsewhere 10-man Valencia defeated Champions League rivals Espanyol 2-1 on Sunday thanks to a controversial late winner from Spanish international Juan Mata.
Mata looked to be offside as he scored the decisive goal in stoppage time as fourth-placed Valencia moved three points clear of Espanyol and two points behind Villarreal in third. Sevilla moved six points off the top four ending a run of five consecutive league defeats with a 1-0 home win over Osasuna on Sunday.
Mali striker Freddy Kanoute headed the winning goal on 35 minutes as Sevilla moved up to ninth in the table. Malaga moved out of the bottom three with a 2-1 win at relegation rivals Sporting Gijon.
Newcastle down Wigan: Shola Ameobi fired Newcastle to a 1-0 victory at Wigan on Sunday that left the struggling Latics deep in relegation trouble. Ameobi’s first-half goal was enough to seal Newcastle’s second win under new boss Alan Pardew and leave Roberto Martinez’s team just one point and one place above the bottom three. While Newcastle are safely in mid-table at the start of the New Year, Wigan face a grim struggle to beat the drop.
Pardew said: “We worked hard and were disciplined and did the right things at the right times. A 1-0 away win, you take those and it’s a good victory for us.
“The most important message for a club as big as us is that we should expect to win every game, regardless of the opposition, and then we see where we fall.”

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