18 not out for Messi

A review of the weekend's action in the Spanish Primera Division, with Lionel Messi scoring for the 18th league game in a row.

Last Updated: 18/03/13 at 00:05 Post Comment

Lionel Messi: Has now scored in 18 consecutive league games

Lionel Messi: Has now scored in 18 consecutive league games

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Lionel Messi and David Villa combined to devastating effect to see off Rayo Vallecano 3-1 and help Barcelona restore their 13-point lead at the top of the Primera Division.

Rayo could not handle the partnership which accounted for all three goals - Villa opening the scoring before Messi netted twice to extend his stunning goalscoring record to 18 successive league matches.

The visitors remain in mid-table but can feel satisfied with an enterprising display which saw them create numerous chances before Raul Tamudo grabbed a late consolation.

Atletico Madrid bounced back from last week's home defeat to Real Sociedad - a result which ended their 100 per cent league record at the Vicente Calderon this season - with a 2-0 win at Osasuna.

Diego Costa netted both goals, scoring in the 35th and 48th minutes, as Atletico remained a point behind second-placed Real Madrid.

Malaga, meanwhile, dropped out of the top four for the first time in seven weeks after surprisingly losing 2-0 home to Espanyol.

Second-half goals by Diego Colotto and Sergio Garcia gave the visitors a smash-and-grab victory at La Rosaleda as Malaga, who have progressed through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, saw their winless run in La Liga stretch to four games.

Sevilla kept their faint hopes of achieving a Europa League place alive with a 4-0 victory over Real Zaragoza, the goals coming from Coke (two), Jose Antonio Reyes and Alvaro Negredo, while Granada drew 1-1 with Levante.

Granada took a 32nd-minute lead through Guilherme Siqueira's penalty but Robert Acquafresca equalised for Levante just five minutes after coming on as a half-time substitute.

On Saturday, Real Madrid had cut Barcelona's lead at the top of the table to 10 points after coming from behind twice to win an exciting home game with Mallorca 5-2.

Emilio Nsue gave the visitors an early lead but Gonzalo Higuain levelled, before Alejandro Alfaro put Gregorio Manzano's side in front again before half-time.

Two smart substitutions by Madrid coach Jose Mourinho at the break gave Los Blancos the lift they needed and goals by Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric, Higuain and Karim Benzema in the second half gave a dominant Madrid the three points.

Valencia overcame the challenge of 10-man Real Betis to climb above their opponents in the table in the race for Champions League qualification.

Roberto Soldado gave the home side the lead from the penalty spot after Antonio Amaya had been dismissed for Betis, before a late own goal from Junior Paulao and a strike from Jonas made sure of the points which lifts Valencia up to fifth.

Betis saw a three-match unbeaten run ended and they now sit seventh, two points behind Ernesto Valverde's men.

Real Sociedad climbed up to fourth place with a resounding 4-1 win over Valladolid at Anoeta.

Two first half goals by Antoine Griezmann and one from Imanol Agirretxe set the Basques on their way to victory, and Xabi Prieto rounded off the win when he netted shortly after the re-start.

Javi Guerra scored a late consolation goal for the visitors in the final stages of the game but it was little use to Miroslav Djukic's side, who were shattered by their opponents decisive finishing in a frantic 20-minute spell.

Borja Fernandez claimed the only goal of the game as Getafe kept their Europa League hopes alive with a 1-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao.

The decisive moment came in the seventh minute when the midfielder lashed the ball home following Pedro Leon's corner.

There were chances at either end to add to the scoring but nobody was able to match Borja's precision as Getafe held out for three points.

Deportivo La Coruna gave their survival hopes a vital boost with a 3-1 victory over 10-man relegation rivals Celta Vigo in the Galician derby on Friday night.

Riki's early goal settled the nerves inside the Riazor and the home fans had further reason for optimism just before the half-hour mark as Iago Aspas was sent off.

Silvio doubled the lead in the 64th minute as the league's bottom side looked to make their man advantage count and substitute Diogo Salomao, who had only come on a minute earlier, wrapped up the points in the 78th minute.

Park Chu-young pulled one back for Celta shortly after, but there was no sensational fightback.

Depor still have plenty of work to do to avoid the drop from the Primera Division, but the win at least took them to within three points of their opponents and six of safety.

It also ended a nine-match winless run in the league, seven of which have been losses.


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lassic management. Build them up and then knock them back. Raise expectations and then dampen them. Create a dynamic where by you demand the most from your team, but where the team are given room to manoeuvre unexpected or unwanted results. Classy work by Van Gaal, he really reminds me a lot of me. A smart cookie, make no doubt.

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e will be the England left back for ten years or more, and then you will have to thank MUFC for that. *smiles*

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urely because of that little diva moment he had last night, I don't want him coming to my club. DESTROYED ? Grow up and give something back to the club that helped put you up there on the world stage.

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