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10.11.2008 Football News

Eto'o And Higuain Grab Four Goals ApieceEto'o And Higuain Grab Four Goals Apiece

By Daily Guide

Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain and Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o scored four goals apiece for their respective sides as the Spanish giants stepped up their title challenges on Saturday.

Barcelona went to the top with a 6-0 home thrashing of Valladolid while Real were tested by Malaga before scraping home 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller.

Defending champions Real had defender Sergio Ramos sent off just before halftime and were behind three times at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium to goals by Eliseu Pereira, Nabil Baha and Antonio "Apono" Galdeano.

Higuain, who was replacing the injured Ruud van Nistelrooy, equalized three times in the eighth, 37th and 71st minutes before scoring the winning goal in the 78th to take his season tally to nine goals.

Real's fighting victory lifted them into second place with 23 points from 10 games, two behind Barcelona who have won eight straight league games and were in magnificent form again.

Eto'o opened his account in the 12th minute when the Cameroon striker received right back Daniel Alves' through ball, went past defender Jose Antonio Garcia Calvo and fired home.

Valladolid then pressured Barcelona, whose goalkeeper Victor Valdes was making his 200th league appearance for the club, until Eto'o doubled his tally on the half-hour after visiting goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo had parried Thierry Henry's shot.

Eto'o completed his hat trick in the 42nd from Lionel Messi's through pass and fired a fourth two minutes later after the ball had deflected off a visiting defender. Eudur Gudjohnsen, replacing injured Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta, spooned the ball over Asenjo for Barcelona's fifth goal in the 71st minute.

Eto'o received a rousing reception from supporters as he left the field in the 75th to be replaced by Alexander Hleb.

Hleb's pass provided Henry with the chance to seal Barcelona's emphatic win eight minutes later.

Third placed Villarreal are at home to Almeria on Sunday with early pacesetters Valencia looking to revive their challenge at Getafe.