FC Barcelona returned to winning ways in the Liga to put space between themselves and second-placed Club Atlético de Madrid, while Real Madrid CF lost ground in a 2-2 comeback draw at CA Osasuna.
Beaten at Athletic Club in their last league outing, Barcelona were inspired to a 2-1 win against Villarreal CF by a pair of Neymar goals. The Brazilian hit a hat-trick in Wednesday's 6-1 UEFA Champions League win against Celtic FC and continued his fine form, opening his tally from the penalty spot after Mario Gaspar had handled.
Mateo Musacchio brought things level shortly after the restart, but Neymar tapped in from Alexis Sánchez's cross on 68 minutes to win it. Atlético can return to parity should they pick up the three points when Valencia CF visit on Sunday.
Madrid are now five points off the lead but were thankful to get anything from their game at Osasuna after going two behind. Oriol Riera's first-half double left the visitors reeling, as did Sergio Ramos's second yellow card on 44 minutes, but Isco halved the deficit by sneaking a shot into the corner moments later. Francisco Silva was then sent off for the hosts on 79 minutes, and Madrid levelled almost immediately through Pepe.
Granada CF are up to tenth following a 2-0 win at ten-man Rayo Vallecano de Madrid, while Levante UD saw off Elche FC 2-1 on Friday evening. In the late game, Málaga CF beat Getafe CF 1-0 courtesy of Roque Santa Cruz's 75th-minute goal, with Bernd Schuster's side rising to 13th.
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|Last updated: 14/12/2013 23:50 CET|
Santa Cruz 75
Neymar 30 (P), 68
Rico Castro 35, Riki 89
Oriol Riera 16, 39
Barral 41, 80
|2||Club Atlético de Madrid||15||40|
|3||Real Madrid CF||16||38|
|6||Real Sociedad de Fútbol||15||23|
|15||RC Celta de Vigo||15||15|
|17||Rayo Vallecano de Madrid||16||13|
|18||Real Valladolid CF||15||12|
|20||Real Betis Balompié||15||10|