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La Liga: Barcelona cruise again; Atleti stay within arm’s reach

FC Barcelona v Rayo Vallecano de Madrid - La Liga

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 09: Gerard Pique of Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal with teammate Arturo Vidal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano de Madrid at Camp Nou on March 09, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ MORE: What did we learn on a wild Premier League Saturday? (video) ]

Barcelona 3-1 Rayo Vallecano

For a period of time — more than 35 minutes, in fact — it appeared Barcelona might struggle to secure all three points against 19th-place Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou on Saturday. Their seven-point lead in the title race was in danger of being reduced to five, if not four, as they trailed with halftime quickly approaching.

Shortly thereafter, however, normal service was restored. Gerard Pique pulled the home side level in the 39th minute, Lionel Messi made it 2-1 from the penalty spot in the 51st, and Luis Suarez finished the game off with Barca’s third goal in the 82nd.

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Leganes

Atleti refuse to go away and concede the title to Barca, but the Blaugrana haven’t given Diego Simeone’s side a single opportunity to close the gap in weeks — not since Barcelona drew two straight league games last month, at which time Atleti were busy losing two straight. You get out of the universe what you put into it.

Anyway, Saul Niguez scored the only goal in Atleti’s thoroughly unspectacular home victory over 13th-place Leganes on Saturday. With one eye already focused on Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League trip to Juventus (Atleti lead 2-0 after the first leg), it’s about as much as could reasonably be expected.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Alaves 1-1 Eibar
Getafe 2-1 Huesca

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Celta Vigo v. Real Betis — 7 a.m. ET
Girona v. Valencia — 10:15 a.m. ET
Sevilla v. Real Sociedad — 1:30 p.m. ET
Levante v. Villarreal — 1:30 p.m. ET
Real Valladolid v. Real Madrid — 3:45 p.m. ET

Follow @AndyEdMLS