MADRID, Leo Messi was at his mercurial best, scoring two free kicks and setting up Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele for further goals as FC Barcelona extended their lead at the top of La Liga with a 4-0 win away to local rivals Espanyol on Sunday.
Messi opened the scoring with a magnificent free kick in the 16th minute and created space for Ousmane Dembele to curl home Barca’s second of the game.
Luis Suarez added a third on the stroke of halftime to virtually assure the win and Messi put the icing on the cake with another brilliant free kick with 25 minutes left to play.
Sevilla remain second after drawing in Valencia, but Pablo Machin’s side will see the 1-1 draw as two points dropped after taking the lead through the excellent Pablo Sarabia and seeing Andre Silva hit the post with just a defender on the line to beat before Mouctar Diakhaby scored a 92nd minute equalizer for Valencia with a powerful header.
The late goal did little to satisfy the Valencia fans who protested against their team’s recent performances by waving white handkerchiefs from the stands.
Atletico Madrid are level on points with Sevilla after a comfortable 3-0 win at home to Deportivo Alaves.With Diego Costa out for two months following a foot operation, Nikola Kalinic’s first goal for Atletico came at the right time as he opened the scoring in the 25th minute.
Antoine Griezmann then sealed the win with a typical goal on the break as Alaves searched for an equalizer and Rodri rounded off the scoring in the closing minutes.
Real Madrid made hard work of their visit to play bottom of the table Huesca, with Gareth Bale’s eighth minute goal – his first in over 800 minutes of league football, giving them a 1-0 win, although goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois also played a big part with several important saves.
Huesca remain without a home win all season, while Real Madrid move up to fourth place in the table ahead of Alaves.
Eibar and Levante shared eight goals in a thrilling 4-4 draw with Eibar fighting back from 2-1 down to take a 4-2 lead, only to see Levante pull back thanks to an own goal and Borja Mayoral’s first goal since joining on loan from Real Madrid.
Valladolid got back to winning ways after four games without a win with a 2-1 victory away to Real Sociedad. Laureano Villa Suarez and Antonito put Valladoild 2-0 ahead and they did well to defend their lead after Mikel Oyarzabal equalized with just under half an hour remaining.
A penalty from Giovani Lo Celso just before the hour and a right foot shot from central defender Sidnei gave Betis a relatively straightforward 2-0 win at home to second from bottom Rayo Vallecano.
Celta Vigo deepened Villarreal’s relegation worries with a 3-2 win in Villarreal’s Estadio de la Ceramica.Brais Menzez, Okay Vokusli and Maxi Gomez put Celta 3-0 ahead , but goals from Carlos Bacca in the 83rd and 87th minutes for Villarreal kept the game on a knife-edge until the last minute.