UEFA Champions League contenders FC Barcelona and Valencia CF recorded narrow victories against Real Zaragoza and RCD Mallorca respectively ahead of their decisive round of 16 engagements next week.
Seydou Keita scored the only goal of the game at the Camp Nou, where Barcelona – who host Arsenal FC on Tuesday trailing 2-1 – prevailed against Real Zaragoza. His second Liga goal of the campaign arrived two minutes before the break after Lionel Messi's weaving run to the byline resulted in a tap-in for the midfielder.
While the Azulgrana extended their cushion over Real Madrid CF to ten points, Valencia consolidated third spot with a 2-1 success at Mallorca. Defender Iván Ramis put the hosts ahead from the spot but goals from Pablo Hernández (33, 56) earned Unai Emery's men the points.
Aritz Aduriz, initially ruled out of Valencia's second leg at FC Schalke 04 on Wednesday (1-1), started against his former club having recovered from an ankle injury, while David Albelda (knee) made his first appearance since 21 December.
Club Atlético de Madrid, meanwhile, are up to sixth as a result of a 3-1 home win against Villarreal CF. Sergio Agüero (68) and Diego Forlán (72) turned the match in the hosts' favour after Giuseppe Rossi (34) had cancelled out José Antonio Reyes's long-range opener with a curling free-kick.
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