Ten-man Valencia CF made it three Liga victories out of three by defeating Hercules CF, though FC Barcelona's joy at overcoming Club Atlético de Madrid was tempered by an ankle injury to Lionel Messi.
Valencia took the lead early on when Juan Mata volleyed in Pablo Hernández's centre. Provider then turned scorer midway through the first half before David Trezeguet converted a penalty for the hosts just before the break. Unai Emery's team played all but four minutes of the second period a man light after David Navarro was sent off for receiving a second booking.
While Valencia's run continues, Atlético's was brought to an end by Barcelona. Messi (13) stabbed the visitors ahead and although Raúl García equalised with a towering header, Gerard Piqué outmuscled the home defence to score on 32 minutes. Messi was carried off late on following a challenge by Tomáš Ujfaluši which resulted in the Czech international being dismissed. Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola said: "He'll be having more tests tomorrow, but in principle a break has been ruled out."
Elsewhere, Martín Cáceres was the match-winner as Sevilla FC moved into second courtesy of a 2-1 defeat of Málaga CF, Nilmar scored twice in Villarreal CF's 2-1 win at Levante UD and Real Zaragoza succumbed 2-0 against Real Racing Club.
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