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Messi responds with hat-trick as Barca warm up for 'Classsico' by routing Osasuna

English.news.cn   2014-03-17 08:07:02

MADRID, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Real Madrid will entertain FC Barcelona in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium next Sunday with a lead of four points after the 28th round of matches in Spain's BBVA Primera Liga.

FC Barcelona responded in the best possible fashion to their rivals' win on Saturday night with one of their best performances of the season to brush past Osasuna 7-0 in the Camp Nou in a game which saw Leo Messi bounce back to his best form and score a hat-trick.

Alexis Sanchez, Andres Iniesta, Pedro Rodriguez and Cristian Tello also got on the score-sheet in a game which was also interesting because record signing, Neymar and Cesc Fabrigas were both left on the subs' bench.

Failure to win in the Camp Nou would have left Barca six or even seven points behind Real Madrid, but the win means a win in their rivals' back yard would leave them just one point off the top of the table.

Barca started slowly, but once Messi opened the scoring after 18 minutes the goals continued to arrive at regular intervals and he completed his hat-trick two minutes from time.

The win ends a good week for Barcelona, who also qualified for the quarterfinals of the Champions League on Wednesday, but beating Manchester City 4-1 on aggregate.

On Saturday night Cristiano Ronaldo's 23rd minute goal was the difference between Malaga and Real Madrid, but if the league leaders had expected an easy win against a side locked in the battle to avoid relegation they were in for a nasty shock as Malaga made them work every inch of the way and had an error-prone Madrid pegged back in their own half, especially in the second half.

Ronaldo had chances to score a second goal and former Malaga midfielder, Isco should have done better when clean through on goal, but their failures in front of goal, meant the result was in the balance until the end even though Malaga failed to seriously trouble Madrid keeper Diego Lopez.

Atletico Madrid remain second after a hard-fought 1-0 win at home to Espanyol thanks to a second half goal from Diego Costa.

Sunday started with Elche and Betis drawing 0-0, a result which eases Elche away from the bottom three, but which does little to give an improving but bottom of the table Betis hope they can avoid relegation.

Imanol Aguirrete scored the only goal of the game as Real Sociedad defeated Valencia 1-0 in Anoeta to complicate Valencia's chances of returning to Europe next season.

Valladolid crashed back to earth following last weekend's win in Barcelona as they lost 4-1 to Sevilla, who themselves needed a good result after losing to Betis in midweek. Two penalties, scored by Igor Rakitic and Kevin Gameiro helped Sevilla, while Gamerio and Diogo scored the other two.

The weekend began with Nolito's first half goal giving Celta Vigo a 1-0 win away to Levante in an exciting game in which both goalkeepers had outstanding performances and David Barral missed a penalty for the home side.

Rayo Vallecano took a big towards Primera Liga safety as they following last Monday's 3-2 win away to Real Sociedad with a 3-1 home win over Almeria. Alberto Bueno opened the scoring, before Larrivey scored two more to assure the points.

The result lifts Rayo out of the bottom three, but leaves Almeria staring at the abyss and coach Francisco Jose Rodriguez in danger of becoming the next top flight coach to lose his job.

Getafe and Granada drew 3-3 on Friday night, while fourth placed Athletic Club visit Villarreal on Monday.

Editor: Yamei Wang
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