FC Barcelona delivered the perfect response to their elimination from the UEFA Champions League in midweek by defeating Villarreal CF 4-1 at El Madrigal.
The victory means the Liga titleholders extend their lead over second-placed Real Madrid CF to four points ahead of Los Merengues' home game against CA Osasuna on Sunday. Lionel Messi (19) made Nilmar pay for missing two chances in the opening eight minutes with his first goal in six matches, receiving Xavi Hernández's pass inside the area and beating Diego López with the aid of a slight deflection.
Provider turned scorer a quarter of an hour later when Xavi expertly curled a free-kick over the wall before Bojan Krkić increased the visitors' lead three minutes before the break with a neat finish into the bottom corner. Substitute Joseba Llorente pulled one back for the sixth-placed hosts midway through the second half only for Messi (88) to restore the three-goal lead.
Nikola Žigić (61, 74) scored twice as Valencia CF took a firm stranglehold on third spot with a 2-0 win at RCD Espanyol – with three games remaining Unai Emery's team are nine points clear of RCD Mallorca, who have a game in hand. At the other end, third-bottom CD Tenerife moved level with the club immediately above them, Málaga CF, thanks to a 2-1 home victory against a Real Racing Club side who are only one point and two places better off. Felipe Caicedo salvaged Málaga what could prove a vital point at home to Real Sporting de Gijón with an equaliser 11 minutes from time.
Real Valladolid CF, two points behind Tenerife, lost ground after drawing 0-0 with Getafe CF, who had David Cortés (57) sent off, while Real Zaragoza took a big step towards safety by winning 1-0 at RC Deportivo La Coruña. Bottom club Xerez CD kept their slim survival chances alive courtesy of a 2-1 triumph over UD Almería in a game which ended with both sides down to ten men.
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|Last updated: 02/07/2011 05:02 CET|
|Venue: La Coruna|
|Venue: San Sebastian|