Barcelona, Atletico both win, but 8-point gap remains in La Liga

Madrid, March 13 (IANS) Catalan football giants Barcelona maintained their eight-point lead over Atletico Madrid at the top of the La Liga as both sides won their matches in the 29th round.

Barcelona kicked off on Saturday by brushing aside a feeble Getafe 6-0 following another excellent display from Lionel Messi, who, despite missing Barcelona’s 8th penalty of the football season, provided with three assists and one goal, reports Xinhua.

An own goal from Juan Rodriguez put Barcelona ahead after 10 minutes, and Munir El Hadaddi doubled their lead 10 minutes later.

Messi then set up Neymar for a 3-0 lead and scored a 25-yard shot to make it 4-0 before halftime.

A second goal from Neymar and an overhead kick from Arda Turan secured the victory before the hour mark, enabling Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique to rest Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique ahead of next week’s Champions League tie against Arsenal.

Atletico Madrid had few troubles in dispatching visiting Deportivo la Coruna, toothless rivals, 3-0 to deny the eight-point gap with pace setters Barcelona to expand.

The Diego Simeone’s side, looking to stifle their rivals that have not won in 2016, was rewarded after 18 minutes when Saul Niguez arrived from deep to head Felipe Luis’s cross past German Lux.

Antoine Griezmann missed a great chance to double the lead before the break, but netted his 16th of the season on the hour after a quickly taken corner, before another quickly taken free kick from deep in the Atletico half allowed Angel Correo to fire past Lux and make it 3-0.

Celta Vigo recovered from their 1-7 thrashing against Real Madrid a week ago with a 1-0 win at home over Real Sociedad. Iago Aspes’ first half goal was enough to give the side from Galicia all three points.

Malaga snatched a 1-0 home victory over the struggling Sporting Gijon thanks to Juanpi’s fourth goal of the season after 25 minutes.

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