The Messi show for Barca
A review of the weekend's action so far in the Spanish Primera Division as Barcelona march on at the top.
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Real Mallorca ended a run of six consecutive league defeats by earning a valuable point in a 1-1 draw at Celta Vigo on Sunday.
Tomer Hemed put the visitors in front with his seventh goal of the season in the 22nd minute but Celta should have been level by half-time as Augusto Fernandez passed up two glorious opportunities to equalise.
Park Chu-young did eventually level for the hosts with a simple finish from a wonderful cross by Iago Aspas 11 minutes after the break, but it was Mallorca who came closest to a winner thereafter and Hemed was only denied his second of the game by a brilliant save from Javi Varas.
Jose Antonio Reyes and Federico Fazio both scored first-half braces as Sevilla put their recent bad form behind them with a stunning 5-1 victory over local rivals Real Betis.
The pressure was on Michel Gonzalez's side to produce the goods after a recent slump in results and they never looked back after taking the lead in the opening seconds through former Arsenal striker Reyes.
They were two up inside five minutes thanks to Fazio and further first-half goals from the pair ended the match as a contest. Betis' evening was compounded when Ruben Perez was dismissed for a second bookable offence and although they did claim a consolation of sorts through Ruben Castro's strike, Ivan Rakitic sealed a sensational win for Sevilla in injury time.
Atletico Madrid survived the second half dismissal of defender Mario Suarez to win 1-0 at Granada with a goal from Arda Turan.
Suarez was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence after handling the ball, leaving his team-mates to see out the last 20 minutes with only 10 men.
Atletico, who cut the gap on leaders Barcelona to three points with the win, were already a goal ahead by then as Turan finished off Jorge Koko's cross.
Two goals in four minutes from Alexis and Angel Lafita saw Getafe come from behind to beat Valladolid 2-1 and move into the top half of the table.
Oscar Gonzalez's sixth goal of the season had put Valladolid ahead just before the break but after Omar Ramos came within inches of doubling the lead with a shot that smacked off the underside off the bar, Getafe rallied to score twice in the final 16 minutes.
Alexis headed home at the back post from Pedro Leon's corner before Lafita found some space inside the area and curled a beautiful finish high past Dani Gimenez into the top corner.
Lionel Messi scored twice and set up a maiden Barcelona goal for Alex Song as the Catalan giants powered on at the top with a 3-1 victory over Real Zaragoza on Saturday evening.
Messi took his season tally for Barcelona to 22 in all competitions with strikes in 16th and 60th minutes while he also turned provider in the 28th minute to help summer signing Song open his account for the club.
Song's goal put Barca back in front after Zaragoza had drawn level through Paco Montanes.
Cristiano Ronaldo drew a rare blank but Real Madrid still enjoyed a comprehensive 5-1 win over Athletic Bilbao.
It was unclear whether Real's first goal came from Karim Benzema or an own goal from the unfortunate Jon Aurtenetxe, but there was never any doubt about the result which took Jose Mourinho's side back to within eight points of leaders Barcelona.
Sergio Ramos made it 2-0 after 30 minutes and Benzema made absolutely sure of getting his name on the scoresheet with a superb finish soon after, while Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira also got in on the act.
Levante climbed to fourth on Sunday as goals from Obafemi Martins and Jose Barkero handed them a 2-0 victory over Deportivo la Coruna at La Riazor.
Martins opened the scoring with his fifth goal in eight games since joining Los Granotes five minutes before half-time but the hosts were given a great chance to get back into the game when Pedro Lopez was shown a second yellow card for handling inside his own area 10 minutes into the second half.
However, Riki blasted the resulting penalty over the bar and, after the numbers had been evened up as Depor goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia was also sent off for a second bookable offence, Barkero wrapped things up for the visitors with a long-range effort
Malaga's winless streak stretched to four games as they failed to find a way through a resolute Osasuna at El Sadar on Saturday, but the visitors were grateful for the point after Willy Caballero was forced into two fine late saves.
Osasuna started brightly and felt aggrieved when Kike Sola had the ball in the net after just two minutes, only for the goal to be wrongly ruled out for offside.
Malaga came into the game as the first half wore on but failed to create a clear-cut chance and were thankful to Caballero after the break as he denied Sola and Alvaro Cejudo twice in the final three minutes.
Espanyol slipped to the bottom of the Primera Division after a controversial 2-1 defeat at Valencia which saw them end the game with nine men.
Jonathan Viera gave the home side the lead on 15 minutes but Samuele Longo equalised on the half hour mark and the visitors looked like clinging on for a welcome point.
However, Hector Moreno was adjudged to have handled in the area three minutes from time and after Moreno and Sergio Garcia were sent off for protesting to the referee, Roberto Soldado drilled home the penalty.