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La Liga Roundup, Gameweek 24: Messi Moves Closer to All-Time Record [VIDEO]

Lionel Messi broke one record and moved closer towards another as Barcelona defeated Rayo Vallecano with ease. Real Madrid won 3-0 at Getafe and Atletico Madrid beat Real Valladolid by the same score as the three title contenders remain separated only by goal difference.

Lionel Messi rewrote the record books as Barcelona completed a 6-0 demolition of Rayo Vallecano at Camp Nou. The 26-year-old Argentine scored twice to surpass Telmo Zarra as the player with most goals for a single Spanish club, his double taking his Barca tally to 337 in all competitions. Adriano opened the floodgates in just the second minute on Saturday and further goals from Alexis Sanchez, Pedro Rodriguez and Neymar with a superb strike from distance added to Messi’s double to seal a comfortable win for the Catalans.

Messi also became the third highest all-time scorer in La Liga, moving above Alfredo Di Stefano in the record books and level with another Real Madrid legend, Raul, on 228 La Liga goals. Messi needs just 24 more to overhaul outright record of 251 by former Athletic Bilbao striker Zarra in the 1940s and 1950s. Hugo Sanchez is second on the list with 234 goals.

Atletico Madrid issued a reminder of their title aspirations with a commanding 3-0 home win over lowly Real Valladolid, ending a three-game losing streak. Atletico’s confidence had been rocked by a 5-0 aggregate defeat to Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semi-finals and a shock 2-0 reverse at Almeria last weekend, which knocked them off the top of La Liga.

Two goals in the opening four minutes from Raul Garcia and Diego Costa saw Diego Simeone’s men off to a flying start and Diego Godin added a third in the second half to seal a morale-boosting victory for Atleti. The best opportunities for the visitors fell to Javi Guerra early in the second period, and Manucho in injury time, but neither player was able to hit the target.

Real Madrid kept up the pace up with Barca and Atleti by easing to a 3-0 victory at Getafe, thanks to goals from by Jese Rodriguez, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric. With Cristiano Ronaldo suspended, the pressure was on Carlo Ancelotti’s side to pick up the three points at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, a stadium they had lost at last season, but Jese settled any nerves they might have had with an early goal. Benzema doubled their advantage on 27 minutes and midway through the second half Luka Modric got the goal his recent form had merited. The defeat plunged Getafe into the relegation mix, four points clear of the danger zone.

Athletic Bilbao saw their unbeaten league record at the new San Mames come to an end as Espanyol claimed a deserved 2-1 win. Goals from Sergio Garcia and Diego Colotto ensured Los Periquitos completed a notable double, having beaten Athletic in September’s reverse fixture, and also achieving back-to-back league wins after last week’s win over Granada. Carlos Gurpegi hit Athletic’s reply early in the second period the hosts were unable to up their game and Colotto duly made them pay with the winner after 65 minutes. Aritz Aduriz was sent off late on to wrap up a miserable night for Ernesto Valverde’s men.

Fifth-placed Villarreal suffered a shock 2-0 home defeat as late goals from Fabian Orellana and Nolito handed Celta Vigo three points at El Madrigal. The home side were totally dominant in the first period but could not find a way through and the game was marred when a smoke bomb was thrown on to the pitch after Orellana had headed Celta into the lead late in the second half, forcing the referee suspending the match for more than 20 minutes. The players eventually re-emerged to play the four remaining minutes, enough time for Nolito to add a second and barely deserved goal for the visitors.

Malaga’s poor form continued as they went down 1-0 to Real Sociedad at La Rosaleda. Carlos Vela struck after 10 minutes for the visitors and their lead was never seriously threatened by the home side, who now face a battle against relegation, having won just one of their last seven games. The introduction of Roque Santa Cruz and Duda in the second half injected a more urgent approach from Malaga, but they were unable to convert possession into goals. Bernd Schuster’s men are now just three points clear of the bottom three, while La Real are sixth, level on points with Villarreal.

Sevilla and Valencia fought out a goalless draw at the Sanchez Pizjuan as both sides finished the game with 10 men. An evenly matched first half saw neither side creating many clear-cut chances, but Sevilla dominated the second half after Valencia captain Ricardo Costa was dismissed in the 50th minute for picking up two yellow cards. They were unable to make their numerical advantage count, however, and their night was summed up when Diego Alves saved Ivan Rakitic’s penalty. It was the Croatian’s third missed spot-kick this season. Sevilla’s Denis Cheryshev was also given his marching orders in stoppage time for two bookings, the second one for diving.

A great strike by David Barral was enough for Levante to see off Almeria. The striker hit a sensational volley after 61 minutes, finally converting one of the numerous chances that had fallen his way during the game, although not for the first time Joaquin Caparros’ side were grateful to their goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who produced an outstanding save to prevent a late equaliser from Oscar Diaz. The defeat leaves Almeria in 15th place, four points clear of the drop zone, while Levante remain 10th.

Elche and Osasuna both remain five points ahead of the relegation places after a goalless draw at El Valero. Goalkeepers Antonio Tono and Andres Fernandez were the stars in a game of few chances. Oriol Riera had the best chance for the visitors after five minutes and should have done better with a close-range header and Cristian Herrera fired wide from just six yards as Elche got a foothold in the game and Fernandez was forced into a save as Ruben Perez tried his luck from distance.

Granada overcame Andalusian rivals Real Betis 1-0 to ease their relegation fears while leaving their opponents rooted to the foot of La Liga. In a bad-tempered game at Los Carmenes which saw both teams finish with 10 men, Piti claimed the winner for El Grana just after the half-hour mark. The home side’s Dani Benitez was shown a straight red card with 10 minutes to go for a bad tackle on Jose Nono, while Betis lost Antonio Amaya who was shown a second yellow card.

Programming note: For viewers in the United States, La Liga games are shown exclusively on beIN SPORT, beIN SPORT Espanol and DishWorld. Even if you don’t have a TV subscription to beIN SPORT, you can access those channels via online streaming service DishWorld for $10/month. Read our review of DishWorld. And sign up for DishWorld via their website.

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