FC Barcelona scored a goal and had a man sent off in both halves of their 2-1 win against Getafe CF, but maintained their position at the top of the Spanish table, with Real Madrid CF beating RCD Espanyol comfortably in Saturday's late game.
The Spanish champions were ahead after eight minutes, with Yaya Touré teeing up Lionel Messi to curl the ball home through a crowd of players, but they were brought back down to earth on 26 minutes as Gerard Piqué saw red for a late challenge. However, Barcelona doubled their lead after the break, Messi going on a rampaging run before laying on a simple finish for Xavi Hernández.
That looked like game over for Getafe, but there was to be drama before the final whistle, with Rafael Márquez being shown a straight red for a challenge on Kepa Blanco inside the penalty area. Roberto Soldado stepped up to finish from the spot with the final whistle being blown seconds later. The result maintained Josep Guardiola's position at the head of the table, where they still lead Madrid by five points.
The writing was on the wall in the late game after Sergio Ramos headed Madrid into a fourth-minute lead at the Santiago Bernabéu, and a rout looked to be on the cards when Kaká made it 2-0 after Carlos Kameni could not hold Raúl González's shot. Espanyol did not buckle, but they could not stop Gonzalo Higuaín making it 3-0 with a classy individual effort at the death.
Earlier, Valencia CF secured a routine 2-0 victory against Real Valladolid CF as they looked to close the gap on Spain's leading pair. An early injury for David Navarro was forgotten after Éver Banega put Unai Emery's side ahead after eight minutes, and it was all over before the half-hour mark as David Villa slotted home a second.
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|Last updated: 04/07/2011 03:45 CET|
Messi 17, 28, 79
Riki 68 (p)