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Barca go top with win at Mallorca
Strike from Zlatan Ibrahimovic puts Catalans top by three points.
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2010 00:28 GMT
Barca struggled to gain control early on in the match but eventually scored in the 63rd minute [AFP]

Barcelona will have a three-point lead for at least 24 hours at the top of Spain's La Liga, after a 1-0 win at Real Mallorca.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored for the third successive game for the reigning champions on Saturday, striking home from close range in the 63rd minute.

Ibrahimovic thumped the ball into the roof of the net from close range during a hard fought game, to put Barca clear of rivals Real Madrid in second place.

Real Madrid play a derby against Atletico Madrid on Sunday, and could reclaim top spot on goal difference.

The top two will meet in "el clasico" in two weeks' time at Real's Bernabeu stadium.

Early pressure

Barcelona rested some first team players ahead of a mid-week Champions League encounter with English side Arsenal, with Lionel Messi, their star Argentine forward, and Xavi, the Spanish midfielder, on the bench.

Results & fixtures

Saturday March 27

 Malaga 1-1 Tenerife
 Mallorca 0-1 Barcelona
 Zaragoza 3-0 Valencia


Sunday March 28

 Deportivo v Getafe
 Espanyol v Sporting Gijon 
 Xerez v Real Valladolid

 Osasuna v Almeria
 Villarreal v Sevilla
 Real Madrid v Atl Madrid

Monday March 29

 Bilbao v Racing

Pep Guardiola's team struggled to gain control of the game at the Ono Estadi with Mallorca proving resolute against long spells of Barca possession.

Early on Mallorca put the Catalans under significant pressure, with forward Aritz Aduriz smashing a strike against the post and Victor Valdes, the Barca goalkeeper, having to save a rebound shot, in the second minute.

Xavi and Messi were brought on in the second half and provided a stimulus, with the former's corner eventually reaching Ibrahimovic whose resulting goal took his tally to 15 for the season.

The result leaves Mallorca, who had won 12 of their past 13 matches up until Saturday, in fourth place, but more than 20 points off Barcelona.

Mid-table Malaga drew 1-1 at home to Tenerife on Saturday, leaving Tenerife in the relegation zone.

Valencia lose

In the late kickoff, third-placed Valencia had Nikola Zigic sent off for a second yellow card just before half time in a bruising clash at promoted Real Zaragoza.

Already 1-0 down after Carlos Diogo's thumping 41st-minute opener, Unai Emery's side crashed to a 3-0 defeat that leaves them 21 points behind Barca on 53.

Earlier, midfielder Alejandro Alfaro scored from the spot in the 86th minute to snatch a 1-1 draw for relegation-threatened Tenerife at Malaga.

The hosts had Patrick Mtiliga sent off for giving away the penalty after Apono had put Tenerife in front the 66th minute.

Source:
Agencies
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