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Frustrated Barca lose ground at top

Barcelona lost ground on La Liga leaders Valencia after being frustrated at the Nou Camp after dominating visitors Mallorca for almost the entire match.

The Catalan giants took the lead through Lionel Messi but just before half-time Emilio Nsue grabbed an equaliser for Mallorca against the run of play.

Barca knocked on the door all night to find the winner but had to settle for a point in the end.

Real Madrid kept in touch at the top with a thumping 6-1 victory ove Deportivo. Cristiano Ronaldo started the procession after four minutes, with further strikes coming from Mesut Ozil, Juan Rodriguez, Angel Di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain and a Deportivo own goal, before the Portuguese winger rounded off the scoring in the last minute.

Valencia stayed at the top of the table after a 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao at the Mestalla on Saturday.

Aritz Aduriz headed them in front inside 11 minutes after being set up by Roberto Soldado. A quick break by Alejandro Dominguez supplied the second in injury-time for Vicente, but there was still time for Igor Gabilondo to pull one back for Bilbao.

In Italy, Lazio's revival after last season's relegation scare in Serie A continued yesterday with a 1-0 win over Brescia. Stefano Mauri got the goal that took Edy Reja's side to the top of the table before last night's scoreless draw between Inter and Juventus.

City rivals Roma lost 2-0 at Napoli, while Milan won 1-0 at Parma on Saturday, Andrea Pirlo getting their winner from long range.

Elsewhere, Mainz, who were only promoted to the top flight in the summer, equalled the best ever Bundesliga start to a season with their seventh successive win when they beat Hoffenheim 4-2 on Saturday to open up a six-point lead at the top.

Irish Independent