La Liga Round-Up
By Simon Fudge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Barcelona have started 2006 in positive fashion with a 2-1 win over Espanyol.Barcelona have started 2006 in positive fashion with a 2-1 win over Espanyol on Saturday evening.
In a rainy Barcelona derby at the Montjuic, the Primera Liga champions had the better chances in the first half, with Juliano Belletti stopped brilliantly by Espanyol goalkeeper Carlos Kameni and Lionel Messi shooting just over the crossbar.
Barca took the lead just before the break as Kameni saved Ronadlinho's free kick, the ball found its way to Deco and the Portugal international struck home to give the visitors a half time lead.
They doubled their advantage soon after the restart, as Ronaldinho fed Samuel Eto'o and the Cameroonian slotted the ball past Kameni with ease.
The match became a contest on the hour mark, as Raul Tamudo took Fredson's cross from the left before lifting the ball over Victor Valdes for 2-1.
Barca, however, held on for the derby win to go five points clear of second place Osasuna.
Deportivo La Coruna got a controversial goal from Javier Arizmendi to defeat struggling Athletic Bilbao 2-1.
Depor took the lead into the break at San Mames after Athletic's Jesus Lacruz inadvertently knocked Juan Valeron's shot into his own net on 25 minutes.
The Basque club levelled near the hour mark after substitute Ismael Urzaiz rose highest to head home Joseba Etxeberria's cross from the right.
Yet, on 65 minutes, Depor restored their lead for good when Arizmendi deflected a free kick into the Athletic box through the legs of goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia with his arm.
The goal stood and pushed La Coruna to third in the table, while Athletic remain just above the Primera Liga's relegation zone.