Sunday, June 10, 2007


Must be their national export, because they produce more of these than they do corned beef!

Barcelona 2-2 Espanyol
BARCELONA, June 9 (Primera Liga) - Espanyol captain Raul Tamudo denied Barcelona an important victory in the Catalan derby to ensure the Primera Liga title race will go down to the wire.
Tamudo also became the club's all-time top league goalscorer, scoring twice at the Nou Camp after Lionel Messi had looked certain to fire the hosts to a third consecutive title success with a brace of his own.
Barca went behind on the half-hour mark following Tamudo's opener, but responded just before half-time thanks to a controversial Messi effort.
The Argentinian struck again after the break, but Barcelona were denied in the dying minutes as Tamudo equalised and Real Madrid also came from behind to draw at Real Zaragoza and stay on top of the Primera Liga with just one game remaining.
Espanyol began brightly and after Luis Garcia had threatened in the very first minute, Tamudo saw his fierce shot well saved by Victor Valdes.
At the other end, Italian full-back Gianluca Zambrotta sent a long-range effort well wide and Iceland striker Eidur Gudjohnsen was off target from 12 yards as Barca searched for an early advantage.
But Espanyol were looking more dangerous and Tamudo forced Valdes into a fine low save with an angled drive.
Luis Garcia also forced a corner for the visitors, but Barca soon came back into the game and Messi sent a low shot just past the post on 16 minutes.
Gudjohnsen, in the side for the suspended Ronaldinho, then sent a header just wide for Frank Rijkaard's side three minutes later.
The Spanish champions were enjoying the majority of the possession and won a free-kick just outside the area on 28 minutes.
However, Deco's effort was deflected wide and a minute later, Espanyol took the lead.
Ivan De La Pena released Tamudo with a brilliant threaded through-ball and the veteran forward smashed his shot past Valdes and into the top right-hand corner to equal Espanyol's all-time scoring record of 111 goals set by Rafael Maranon.
Barcelona looked lost at this point, but levelled in controversial fashion just before the break when Messi pushed the ball past Espanyol goalkeeper Carlos Kameni with his hand.
The Argentinian winger produced a repeat of Diego Maradona's sensational dribbled strike against England in the 1986 World Cup against Getafe last month and came up with a carbon copy of the first goal Maradona scored that day - the so-called ``Hand of God'' goal - against Espanyol by diverting Zambrotta's deflected cross past a hapless Kameni.
Despite the protests from the Espanyol players, the goal stood and the Argentinian winger was to do even more damage after the break.
Messi set up Gudjohnsen on 55 minutes, but the former Chelsea striker was unable to get his shot on target.
However, a minute later, the young midfielder struck again for Barcelona with a clinical low finish from 10 yards out after a flowing team move.
The Nou Camp faithful then realised that title rivals Real Madrid had gone down 2-1 at Zaragoza and celebrated the announcement of Diego Milito's goal as if they had won the title.
They should have waited though, because after Samuel Eto'o squandered a great chance for Barcelona to make it 3-1, Tamudo equalised in the dying seconds.
A minute later, things were even worse for Barcelona as news came through of Madrid's equaliser at Zaragoza, which leaves things as they were going into the last match of the season, when Barca will need their bitter rivals to slip up if they are to win the title.
Sevilla remain two points off the pace after drawing 0-0 against Mallorca.