By Andy Hall
Superb strikes from Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi saw FC Barcelona re-establish their six-point lead at the top of the Primera División while Villarreal CF recorded a rousing 4-0 win against Getafe CF to move fourth.
Barça were at their free-flowing best during the opening half against Albacete Balompié at Camp Nou but were unable to find a way past Raúl Valbuena, who produced a string of noteworthy saves. But he had little chance of stopping Eto'o's effort from the edge of the area on 65 minutes, a pinpoint curling strike which grazed the post on its way in.
The night, however, belonged to 17-year-old Lionel Messi, a late substitute who struck his first goal for Frank Rijkaard's side right on full time. Ronaldinho cheekily scooped the ball over the Albacete defence for the precocious Messi to nonchalantly lob beyond Valbuena and seal victory. With just four matches remaining, Barça are still six points ahead of Real Madrid CF.
Sevilla FC consolidated third place with a comfortable 2-0 win against RC Deportivo La Coruña. Adriano Corria broke the deadlock on 12 minutes, firing a swerving drive into the top corner before Jesús Navas added a second with a low shot seven minutes later to help the Andalucian side open up a three-point gap ahead of fourth place.
Villarreal are fourth after leapfrogging Valencia CF following a comfortable 4-0 win against Getafe. Juan Pablo Sorín gave the home side the lead on 13 minutes before Diego Forlán squeezed in goal number two four minutes later. The Uruguayan striker added a fourth late on, to take his season's tally to 20, but only after Santi Cazorla had struck a stunning third from 25 metres.
Mallorca edge thriller
Juan Fernando Arango marked his return to action following his horrific injury in March with a goal in RCD Mallorca's 3-2 win against sixth-placed RCD Espanyol, which saw his side close within four points of 17th place and safety. Levante UD, who currently occupy that berth, lost 1-0 against Málaga CF.
Elsewhere, David Villa scored twice as Real Zaragoza defeated CA Osasuna 5-1 at the Romareda to climb into eighth, while Real Betis Balompié were held 1-1 at Real Racing Club Santander.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.