Xavi Hernández marked becoming FC Barcelona's leading Liga appearance maker with the winning goal against nine-man Granada CF, while Sevilla FC struck late to draw 2-2 with Real Racing Club.
The Spanish champions took the lead in Granada after 33 minutes when Xavi, brought down 22 metres from goal, curled the resulting free-kick past goalkeeper Roberto. However, it was not a fluent performance from the Azulgrana, who lost Pedro Rodríguez to an ankle injury early in the second half and were unable to capitalise on the 53rd-minute dismissal of Granada's Jaime Romero.
The closest Barcelona came to extending their advantage was when Lionel Messi's late shot was scrambled off the line by the hosts, who also had Dani Benítez sent off in added time. The 1-0 victory took Josep Guardiola's side, who have not conceded a goal in seven matches, a point clear of Levante UD, who have a game in hand, at the summit.
"I'm happy my goal gave us an important win in a difficult game," said the 31-year-old Xavi, after his 392nd top-flight appearance took him beyond Migueli's record. "We only drew our last match so had to win away tonight. We could have sealed it in the second half as we had chances, but it's not always easy against teams that defend well.
"I took my goal well and that's what makes me feel good," he added of his fourth Liga goal this term. "Sometimes you go on runs in football and at the moment it seems everything is going in for me. I'm not normally one for scoring – my job is to help the team move the ball about but I feel physically good and my confidence is high."
Sevilla, meanwhile, followed up Saturday's 0-0 draw at Camp Nou by moving to within two points of third-placed Real Madrid CF. However, the Andalusians needed a 92nd-minute equaliser from Manu at home to struggling Racing. The forward had put Sevilla one up before the break but two goals in eight second-half minutes looked to have given Racing their first win of the season, only for Manu's late intervention to make it 2-2.
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|Last updated: 22/05/2012 14:15 CET|
Bilić 49, Albuquerque Bruno 65 (o.g.)
|Venue: Palma de Mallorca|
Güiza 62, 76
Ibrahima 7, 66
Jordi Alba 82
Manu 37, 90+2
Nahuelpán Osten 62, Samperio 69
|2||Real Madrid CF||9||22|
|7||Rayo Vallecano de Madrid||9||12|
|8||Real Betis Balompié||8||12|
|11||Club Atlético de Madrid||8||10|
|15||Real Sociedad de Fútbol||9||8|
|17||Real Sporting de Gijón||9||7|
|19||Real Racing Club||9||5|