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Barca falters again as Atletico grabs late winner

SERGIO Aguero scored a dramatic late winner as Atletico Madrid twice came from behind to stun visiting Barcelona 4-3 on Sunday, leaving the Catalans just four points clear at the top in Spain.

Barcelona's advantage over Real Madrid was 12 points three weeks ago.

Real's 2-0 win at Espanyol on Saturday, its 10th straight victory, had upped the pressure on Barca, and Pep Guardiola's side has now taken only one point from its last three matches. With 25 matches played, it has 60 points to Real's 56, while Sevilla, which had two stylish Frederic Kanoute goals to thank for Saturday's 2-1 comeback win over Athletic Bilbao, is in third on 47.

Atletico started brightly at the Calderon but fell behind to a Thierry Henry goal. The ball fell to the French international just outside the penalty area and he curled a superb shot over Leo Franco into the top right corner.

Lionel Messi left the Atletico defence trailing and finished clinically to double Barca's advantage before Diego Forlan lashed in a shot from long range.

A mistake by Rafael Marquez let Aguero in to equalize early in the second half but the home side fell behind again when Samuel Eto'o sent Eidur Gudjohnsen racing clear and he squared for Henry to score his second.

Barcelona looked to be cruising but Forlan scored from the spot with 10 minutes left after Henry was adjudged to have fouled Florent Sinama Pongolle and the home support roared the Atletico players on in search of a winner.

With around a minute of regular time remaining, Aguero picked up the ball on the left, burst through a Carles Puyol tackle and finished past Valdes into the bottom corner. It was a similar outcome a year ago when Aguero scored twice and created a third to lead Atletico back from a goal down to win 4-2 at Barca.

In other matches, struggling Valencia lost 1-2 at home to Real Valladolid and Villarreal managed to hold on for a 2-2 draw at Real Betis.


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