Vol. 5 Num 272 Thu. March 03, 2005  

Primera Liga
Kameni stands in Barca's way

There may not have been any goals but that was the only thing that was lacking as Spanish league leaders Barcelona were held to a 0-0 draw by their local rivals Espanyol.

The star of the match was not Barca's World Player of the Year Ronaldinho nor African Player of the Year and the Spanish first division's leading scorer Samuel Eto'o but Espanyol's young Cameroon goalkeeper Carlos Kameni.

Kameni kept a clean sheet in spectacular fashion with a series of outstanding saves from point-blank range.

He thwarted an excellent early effort from Ronaldinho less than a minute into the match and carried on with his heroics for the remainder of the match.

Arguably his best save came just a few minutes after the break, with him producing a stunning left-handed reaction save from Andres Iniesta.

His next impressive feat was to deny his close friend Eto'o when his fellow Cameroon international had a powerful header bang on target just after the hour.

Kameni's exploits were even more admirable considering Espanyol were reduced to 10 men after 65 minutes when Daniel Jarque was given a red card for a high challenge and catching Rafa Marquez in the face with his boot.

Espanyol did not spend the game on the back foot until the dismissal of Jarque and had their own chances during the first hour, with both Maxi Rodriguez and Dani Garcia going close in an exciting match.

Barcelona extend their lead over bitter rivals Real Madrid to nine points, and Espanyol move up to third, although the rest of the Spanish first division teams have a game in hand and play on Wednesday.

Second-placed Real Madrid entertain fellow Champions League challengers Real Betis on Wednesday, with Ronaldo returning to the Spanish giants starting lineup after he missed Madrid's 2-0 loss at Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.

"This is a key week for us. It's a week that could set us up for both the league and the Champions League," said Real coach Wanderley Luxemburgo on Tuesday.

"We've suffered two defeats in the league but in the middle we had a good outing against Juventus, so everybody is doing fine.

"We are not concentrating on the Champions League to the detriment of the Spanish title. We are chasing everything still," added the Brazilian boss.

Another crucial match sees Sevilla, who were pushed back to fourth by Espanyol, play host to the reigning Spanish champions Valencia, who are currently one place belo