Madrid, January 8:

Samuel Eto’o scored his 18th goal of the season on Saturday and leader FC Barcelona won its 11th straight league game, 2-1 over crosstown rival Espanyol as La Liga resumed after a 16-day winter break.

Midfielder Deco opened the scoring for the defending champion, which extended its advantage in the standings to five points with a club record 15th straight victory in all competitions.

Deco was taken to the hospital for tests following a 58th-minute collision of heads with teammate Thiago Motta, which caused him to briefly lose consciousness.

In Saturday’s other game, Deportivo La Coruna downed Athletic Bilbao 2-1 to climb to third place. Barcelona has 43 points, while Osasuna has 38. Deportivo is tied for third with Valencia. Both teams have 32 points and identical goal differences.

Goalkeeper Carlos Kameni, who had saved an attempt from Ronaldinho only seconds earlier, appeared to misjudge Deco’s low shot from the edge of the area, diving to his right only to see the ball skip over his legs and into the goal a minute before halftime.

Barcelona doubled the lead in the 47th minute when Eto’o took full advantage of Ronaldinho’s through ball by steering the ball past his compatriot Kameni. Espanyol scored when captain Raul Tamudo controlled midfielder Fredson’s crossfield ball and lifted it over advancing goalkeeper Victor Valdes.


LONDON: Liverpool hit back from 3-1 down to beat Luton 5-3 and turn what looked like being one of the FA Cup’s biggest upsets into one of its most memorable comeback victories. Xabi Alonso scored two amazing long-range goals and substitute Florent Sinama Pongolle added two more as the European champion launched a fightback to match its Champions League final against AC Milan in May.

Liverpool scored three times in 12 minutes and Alonso finished the game with a 60-yard shot into an empty net after the Luton goalkeeper had been caught upfield attacking the other goal.

On a dramatic day of cup games, non-league Nuneaton Borough scored a last-minute penalty to earn a 1-1 draw with Premier League Middlesbrough while Chelsea needed a late goal by Eidur Gudjohnsen to subdue League Two Huddersfield 2-1.

Everton equalised through Leon Osman to draw 1-1 with lowly League Championship Millwall while Torquay held Birmingham City 0-0.

Defending champion Arsenal was among top flight teams to make it easily into the fourth round as Robert Pires’ two early goals gave the Gunners a 2-1 victory over League Championship side Cardiff.

Aston Villa advanced with a 1-0 victory at Hull, Charlton won 4-2 at Sheffield Wednesday, Manchester City came from behind to beat Scunthorpe 3-1, thanks to a Robbie Fowler hat trick, and Newcastle edged Mansfield 1-0 with Alan Shearer tying Jackie Milburn’s club record 200 goals.

Craig Bellamy scored two as Blackburn outplayed Coventry 3-0, Portsmouth won 1-0 at Ipswich, West Ham won 2-1 at Norwich and Bolton overwhelmed Watford 3-0. Wigan and West Bromwich Albion played a 1-1 draw. Non-league Tamworth gained a 0-0 draw at League Championship Stoke and League One’s Colchester won 2-1 at Sheffield United.

Italian Serie A

ROME: Adrian Mutu scored twice and rallied leader Juventus to a 2-1 victory at Palermo as Italy’s top league resumed after a 2 1/2-week winter break. Its 16th win in 18 league matches gave the Turin club 49 points, moving it 11 points ahead of Inter and 12 in front of AC Milan.

The victory was Juventus’ second straight and extended its unbeaten streak to eight, including seven wins. Mutu, the Romanian international playing in place of injured Czech midfielder Pavel Nedved, scored in the 15th minute.

After Christian Terlizzi put the Sicilian club ahead with a volley off a long cross from Eugenio Corini in the 12th, Mutu put a header off the crossbar, then settled the rebound to kick in from a few meters as two defenders closed on him. He scored the winner in the 34th, slotting the ball from eight yards. Also, Reggina and Fiorentina traded first-half goals a minute apart for a 1-1 draw at Stadio Granillo in Reggio Calabria. The draw lifted the Florentine team into a third-place tie with AC Milan.