Spain roundup: Top three all win as Ronaldo, Costa, Messi shine
There are no style points on the board, though goal differential is close. By those measures, Barcelona made a statement regarding the La Liga title race as the top three all picked up wins but Barca’s was a stomping.
Lionel Messi became Barcelona’s all-time leading goal scorer when he slotted home the second goal of his hat trick in the Blaugrana’s 7-0 shellacking of 15th place Osasuna. Click the link and watch the video if only for Andres Iniesta’s left-footed stunner to make the score 3-0.
Barca was Barca again, boosting their league-best goal differential to 59. Perhaps buoyed by topping Manchester City mid-week, it was certainly a different side than the club dispatched by Valladolid last weekend. Cristian Tello, Pedro and Alexis Sanchez also scored for Barcelona, which had a 3-0 at the break.
Real Madrid won 1-0 at relegation-threatened Malaga thanks to a 23rd minute marker by Cristiano Ronaldo, but it wasn’t close to their finest. The club’s unbeaten run in La Liga is now at 30 matches, and perhaps they were looking ahead to their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg with Schalke on Tuesday... but who are we kidding? They are up 6-1. It was just an off day for the club whose goal differential sits at 51.
Atletico stayed three back of Real and a point ahead of Barca with a 1-0 win of its own. Diego Costa put home a David Villa pass for the match’s only goal, as Atletico stayed unbeaten at home this season. It was a nice bit of pass and pace, as Costa simply outraced Espanyol defender Diego Colotto for the ball.
- Getafe 3-3 Granada — The goals started in the sixth minute and kept coming all night as Getafe let three leads disappear. Moroccan forward Youssef El Arabi bagged a brace in the comeback(s).
- Levante 0-1 Celta Vigo — Nolito’s 19th minute goal moved the visiting side five points clear of the drop.
- Rayo Vallecano 3-1 Almeria — Joaquin Larrivey’s brace vaulted Rayo out of the relegation zone and placed the visitors La Liga future in peril
- Elche 0-0 Real Betis — Full credit to Betis, who keeps picking up points despite an unlikely bottom position nine points from safety. Elche carried 64 percent possession in the draw.
- Sevilla 4-1 Valladolid -- Kevin Gameiro stayed hot, striking twice, while Ivan Rakitic and Diogo Figueiras also netted for Sevilla. Javi Guerra scored late for the visitors.
- Real Sociedad 1-0 Valencia -- Sociedad is within five points of a Champions League spot thanks to Imanol Agirretxe’s 61st minute marker.
- Villarreal vs. Athletic -- Monday