Samuel Eto'o scored twice as FC Barcelona demolished Valencia CF 3-0 on Saturday night after neighbours RCD Espanyol narrowly overcame lowly Levante UD.
Valencia, without either a win or a goal from their last five matches, were hoping to pick themselves up after finishing at the foot of their UEFA Champions League group on Tuesday. However, their misery continued as Barça put them to the sword with a devastating performance, in which Eto'o was irresistible.
The Cameroonian international put the visitors ahead on 13 minutes when he recieved a Lionel Messi pass, turned two defenders and sent a fierce left-foot strike past Santiago Cañizares. Eto'o doubled his tally (27) when he finished off a fine team move involving Eidur Gudjohnsen and Messi and Gudjohnsen made it 3-0 (62) to complete a victory that moved Frank Rijkaard's side to within a point of leaders Real Madrid CF, who host CA Osasuna on Sunday, before facing Barcelona at Camp Nou next weekend.
Earlier in the evening Espanyol moved into fourth place after a narrow win against bottom side Levante. Daniel Jarque González scored the only goal of the match on nine minutes when he followed up on a rebound after his initial header had been parried by Marco Storari. The home side held on to their slender lead to move into the UEFA Champions Leage places while Levante remain rooted to the foot of the Primera División with seven points from 16 matches.