Lionel Messi continued his exceptional form as unbeaten FC Barcelona secured their 11th win in 12 Liga matches this term with a 3-1 triumph over Real Zaragoza.
Messi broke the deadlock in the 16th minute after a neat one-two with Jordi Alba. Barcelona had conceded 14 league goals before this contest, however, and Francisco Montañés exploited that defensive frailty to equalise shortly after.
The Azulgrana regained control through Alex Song, before Messi completed the scoring when he curled in a shot midway through the second half – his 27th goal of the season in all competitions for club and country.
Real Madrid CF remain eight points behind their rivals after dispatching Athletic Club 5-1 at home. Three goals in the first 32 minutes blew the visitors away, with a Sergio Ramos strike sandwiched between two excellent Karim Benzema finishes. Ibai Gomez reduced the deficit on the verge of half-time, but Mesut Özil put the Merengues out of sight before compatriot Sami Khedira added gloss.
Elsewhere, CA Osasuna held Málaga CF to a goalless draw, while a last-gasp Roberto Soldado penalty helped Valencia CF beat RCD Espanyol 2-1 after Periquitos pair Sergio García and Héctor Moreno were sent off late on.
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