MADRID, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- It was all change at the top of the BBVA Primera Liga this weekend as FC Barcelona returned to the top of the league thanks to a 4-1 win away to Sevilla.
Two goals from Leo Messi and further strikes from Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Faberigas gave Barca the win and a vital three points after Barca had fallen behind in a rainswept Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium thanks to a goal from Alberto Moreno.
Alexis equalized with a header, from a possible offside position after 34 minutes and Messi's first goal of the night a minute from halftime put the Catalans ahead.
Barca had been below their best in the first half, but were back to their excellent best after the break and Messi's second gave them breathing space before Cesc sealed the win in the closing minutes.
Barca's win knocked Real Madrid off the top of the table after they had overtaken Atletico Madrid on Saturday as a result of their 4-2 triumph against Villarreal and Atletico's surprise defeat in Almeria..
Atletico were without first choice goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois and his replacement Dani Aranzubia had a difficult night, as he was beaten by a cross from Verza with 11 minutes remaining.
The keeper was then sent off for supposedly committing a penalty after an ill-judged decision to try and dribble the ball round Almeria striker Zongo and Verza fired home Almeria's second of the night with Atletico midfielder, Gabi Fernandez in goal.
Real Madrid went level on points and ahead of their neighbors on goal difference courtesy of 4-2 victory at home to Villarreal, a result achieved despite the absence of the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo.
Fit-again Gareth Bale opened the scoring after a defensive mistake after 6 minutes and then set up Karim Benzema to make it 2- 0 with an instinctive finish after 24 minutes.
Mario Gaspar's thumping drive just before halftime got Villarreal back into the game, but Jese Rodriguez's fourth goal of the season after 63 minutes again put his side two goals ahead.
Geovani Dos Santos then scored a magnificent free kick to keep Villarreal into the game, but Benzema's second of the game made the result safe for Carlo Ancelotti's side.
Real Sociedad were unable to capitalize on Villarreal's slip up as the Basque side were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw in a windy San Sebastian by Levante.
Osasuna took an important step away from the relegation zone thanks to a 2-0 home win over Getafe, who are currently in freefall.
Oriol Riera's good form continued in front of goal when he opened the scoring in the first half and an exciting game was decided when Ruben Torres netted a second on the break late in the second half.
Valladolid came back from 2-0 down at home to Elche to salvage a point on a swamp of a pitch in the Nuevo Zorilla Stadium.
The home side had trailed to goals from Coro and Manu del Moral, who put Elche 2-0 up in the 66th minute, but Humberto Osoria scored twice after 71 and 78 minutes to assure a share of the points in an entertaining game.
Saturday saw Valencia move closer to European football thanks to a thanks to a 5-0 thrashing of hapless Betis, who remain bottom of the table with just 14 points from 23 games.
Goals from Jeremy Mattieu and Paco Alcacaer in three minutes before the break totally changed the game and Sophaine Feghouli, Alcazar and Javi Vargas added goals in the second half as Betis fell apart.
Second from bottom Rayo Vallecano produced their best display of the campaign with a 4-1 win over Malaga. Iago Falque was the standout player for Rayo, while Malaga were unhappy after playing half the game with a man less after Sergio Sanchez was sent off.
Friday saw Espanyol beat Granada 1-0 while Celta Vigo entertain fourth place Athletic Club, who could open up a six point gap over Villarreal if they win on Monday night.