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Eto'o double saves Barca
Samuel Eto'o scores twice to earn Spanish league leaders Barcelona a draw.
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2009 01:49 GMT

Real Betis' goalkeeper Ricardo comes face to face with Samuel Eto'o [GALLO/GETTY].
Samuel Eto'o scored twice as Spanish league leaders Barcelona came from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Real Betis on Saturday and stretch their unbeaten run to 22 league games.

Betis were two goals up within 25 minutes through Juan "Melli'' Andreu and Mark Gonzalez before Eto'o scored off the rebound from his saved penalty in the 45th for his 100th league goal for Barcelona.

The Cameroon striker's shot in the 84th needed a slight deflection to get past Betis goalkeeper Ricardo, who looked set to hand Barcelona their first loss since opening day by making several fine saves toward the end of the game, including a point-blank volley by Gerard Pique in the 82nd.

"A point against Barcelona is a point,'' Betis coach Paco Chaparro said.

Big lead

Barcelona saw a 10-game winning streak snapped, however, as they moved to 60 points after Eto'o took his league-leading goal tally to 23.

"We came to win and it wasn't to be, but I've got nothing to be upset about because the team played and created a number of chances," Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said.

"Especially in the second half when they just didn't fall.''

Real Madrid can get to within 10 points of their archrivals when they travel to Sporting Gijon on Sunday, where they will look to extend their seven-game winning streak without Netherlands midfielders Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Rafael Van der Vaart.

A Raul Albiol own-goal allowed Malaga to draw 1-1 at Valencia in a match of Champions League hopefuls.

Spain defender Albiol deflected Eliseu Pereira's low cross into his own goal in the 59th only six minutes after David Villa scored his 18th of the season to put Valencia ahead.

Valencia were even with third-place Sevilla, who play Espanyol on Sunday, with 38 points, Villarreal have 37 and Malaga have 36 - one better than Atletico Madrid and Deportivo La Coruna, who drew 0-0 against Osasuna.

Sunday's other games are: Atletico Madrid vs. Getafe; Racing Santander vs. Villarreal; Almeria vs. Valladolid; Athletic Bilbao vs. Recreativo Huelva; Numancia vs. Mallorca.

Real Betis have broken Barca's winning streak[GALLO/GETTY]
Missed opportunities

In Seville, Barcelona could have been ahead in the sixth but Eto'o failed to control the ball while alone in front of goal, with Xavi Hernandez eventually firing a hard shot wide.

Betis' defence was troubled from the 10th when centre back Juanito Gutierrez was forced off through injury, and he would later be joined by William Lima.

But Betis struck first in the 18th, Melli heading Achille Emana's in-swinging corner kick beyond goalkeeper Victor Valdes.

Seven minutes later, Gonzalez controlled Sergio Garcia's cross along the left to send a left-footed volley under Valdes and inside the post.

The momentum continued Betis' way after Gonzales' goal with Emana swivelling to volley over in the 38th.

But a questionable penalty call by referee Alfonso Perez Burrull began Barcelona's fightback.

Perez Burrull whistled Branko Ilic for a foul after he brushed against Andres Iniesta as the Barcelona winger moved along the left of the area.

Eto'o pounced on the rebound after his initial penalty was saved to slot past Ricardo.

Gonzalez thought he had scored a second in the 50th but the Chile winger was ruled offside.

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola brought Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry on in the 57th as Barcelona pressed, with Ricardo getting a finger to Iniesta's low drive in the 72nd.

Ricardo Oliveira was played clear through in the 73rd without a defender in sight but the Betis striker rushed his shot and Valdes saved.

At the Mestalla, Villa received from David Silva at the left edge of the area before curling over goalkeeper Inaki Goitia into the far side of goal to trail only Eto'o in goals this season.

Goalkeeping masterclass

Both goalkeepers made big stops throughout, although the crossbar saved Villa's audacious chip from outside the area just before halftime.

Goitia saved Joaquin Sanchez's low-rising shot in the 11th before Cesar Sanchez denied Pereira on a counterattack.

Brazilian back Thiago Carleto made his Valencia debut in the 15th after replacing Emiliano Moretti, who withdrew with a knee injury.

Cesar stopped Albert Luque's high volley in the 25th before the Malaga striker sent a cross goal header just wide.

Valencia's Hedwiges Maduro cleared off the line in the 38th before Cesar rushed out to deny Eliseu in the 45th.

Goitia stopped Manuel Fernandes' dangerous free kick in the 82nd.

Source:
Agencies
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