Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Spain's leading lights eclipse pack

It was a case of as you were at the top of the Spanish Liga after impressive weekend victories for leaders FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF, while there was also joy for Valencia CF as they tightened their hold on third place.

Messi treble
Barça had not won in two games since the turn of the year yet that was soon forgotten as they swept CD Tenerife aside 5-0, with three of their goals coming in the nine minutes immediately before half-time. Lionel Messi was the hosts' chief tormentor, scoring a hat-trick thanks to three Bojan Krkić assists and delivering the free-kick which Carles Puyol glanced in to double the visitors' lead. A late own goal from Ezequiel Luna capped an emphatic victory for the champions.

Prolific Higuaín
Madrid, who defeated RCD Mallorca 2-0 at home, remain two points behind in second. Gonzalo Higuaín's eleventh league goal in as many starts this term – a sumptuous curling effort into the top corner – set Madrid on their way, before Esteban Granero added a second five minutes after the break at a snowy Santiago Bernabéu.

Deportivo rise
Valencia remain six points shy of Madrid following a 3-1 win at bottom-of-the-table Xerez CD, Juan Mata, David Silva and Carlos Marchena on target for the UEFA Europa League contenders. It was all change just below, however, as RC Deportivo La Coruña moved up to fourth courtesy of a 1-0 home victory against ten-man CA Osasuna – who had Javad Nekounam sent off – and defeats for Mallorca and Sevilla FC.

Losing sequence
Sevilla had impressed in midweek when they defeated Barcelona 2-1 at Camp Nou in the Copa del Rey, but it is in the league where there they need to find form. They suffered a third successive reverse at the hands of 12th-placed Real Racing Club, for whom 18-year-old Sergio Canales scored twice in a 2-1 win at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán. Elsewhere, Club Atlético de Madrid prevailed 4-0 at Real Vallodolid CF, with Diego Forlán and Sergio Agüero among the scorers.

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