Lionel Messi was on target for an 18th consecutive Primera Liga game as Barcelona maintained their 13-point Liga lead over Real Madrid with a 3-1 win against Rayo Vallecano at Camp Nou. David Villa’s first-half opener set Barca on their way before Messi stole the show with a brace. Raul Tamudo reduced the deficit for Rayo, but his first goal of the season was no more than a consolation.
Real Madrid came from behind twice to beat struggling Mallorca 5-2 at the Bernabeu. Emilio Nsue and Alejandro Alfaro either side of Gonzalo Higuain’s strike gave the islanders a surprise 2-1 lead at half-time, but Jose Mourinho’s men hit back after the break with three goals in seven minutes. Ronaldo headed his 27th goal in as many Primera appearances and Luka Modric hit Real’s third before Higuain grabbed a second and Karim Benzema completed the scoring in added time.
Atletico Madrid remained a point behind their city rivals with a 2-0 win at Osasuna. Diego Costa scored either side of half-time to leave the men from Pamplona just four points clear of the drop zone.
Despite their success in the Champions League, Malaga’s poor home form in La Liga continued as they crashed 2-0 against Espanyol at La Rosaleda. Second-half goals from Diego Colotto and Sergio Garcia saw Manuel Pellegrini’s team drop to sixth.
Antoine Griezmann scored twice as Real Sociedad took advantage of Malaga’s slip-up to move up to fourth with an impressive 4-1 home win against Real Valladolid. The Basques have now gone ten games without defeat, scoring 22 times in the process. Imanol Agirretxe and Xabi Prieto were Sociedad’s other scorers, with Javi Guerra getting a late consolation for Valladolid.
Valencia climbed to fifth with a 3-0 defeat over ten-man Real Betis. Antonio Amaya’s early red card for bringing down Roberto Soldado was punished further as Soldado scored from the resulting penalty, before Paulao’s own goal and Jonas’ late strike sealed the win for Los Che.
Jorge Andujar Moreno – otherwise known as Coke – scored twice as Sevilla hit four past lowly Real Zaragoza without reply. Juan Antonio Reyes and Alfredo Negredo were also on target for Sevilla while the visitors had Stefan Babovic dismissed for a second yellow card.
Last-placed Deportivo La Coruna registered only their fourth win of the season, beating fellow strugglers Celta Vigo 3-1. Riki, Silvio and Diogo Solomao were all on target for Depor, with Park Chou-Young pulling a late goal back for the visitors. Celta, who had Iago Aspas sent off after being shown a straight red card for violent conduct, have taken just four points from 15 games on the road and are looking like favourites to accompany Depor straight back to La Segunda.
Borja Fernandez scored the only goal of the game as Getafe beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0 to remain in eighth place, just a point behind Betis, while Granada drew 1-1 at home against Levante, Siqueira’s first-half penalty for La Grana cancelled out by Robert Acquafresca five minutes after the break.