Barca march on at the top
A review of the weekend's action in the Spanish Primera Liga, including an away-day romp for Barcelona.
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Andres Iniesta took centre stage with a virtuoso display as Barcelona continued their unbeaten start to the Primera Division season with a classy 4-0 victory at Levante.
Iniesta provided assists for Lionel Messi's quickfire double - his 81st and 82nd goals this calendar year - before lashing home a goal of his own and playing in Cesc Fabregas for a fourth as Barcelona ran riot in a devastating 18-minute spell at the start of the second half.
Jose Barkero had the chance to pull a goal back for the hosts late on but saw his tame penalty saved by Victor Valdes as Barca comfortably maintained their three-point lead at the top of La Liga with their 11th win in 12 matches.
Atletico Madrid stretched their 100 per cent record at the Vicente Calderon this season to 10 games with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over nine-man Sevilla.
The game was almost over as a contest after just 20 minutes when Koke was brought down by Federico Fazio inside the area and - after the Italian defender had seen a red card for a professional foul - Radamel Falcao hammered home his 14th goal of the season from the penalty spot.
Two goals in four minutes just before half-time sealed the points for Atleti as Emir Spahic turned Arda Turan's cross into his own net before Koke capped a fine individual display with a stunning volleyed finish from Diego Costa's lobbed pass.
And Sevilla's miserable night was rounded off when Ivan Rakitic received a second yellow card for hacking down Tiago, leaving Miranda to tap home a fourth goal in stoppage time.
Deportivo moved out of the relegation zone thanks to a vital point earned from a 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao at San Mames.
The hosts took a deserved lead before the break as Oscar de Marcos converted Markel Susaeta's cross in the 24th minute, but Abel Aguilar headed Depor level from Juan Carlos Valeron's driven ball just after half-time.
Athletic pressed for the winner but Fernando Llorente failed to find the target with three headers, with Andoni Iraola and Iker Muniain also coming close, and there was to be no way through for the Basque outfit.
In Sunday's opening fixture, Getafe heaped more misery on Espanyol by inflicting a 2-0 defeat on the division's bottom team at the Estadi Cornella-El Prat.
Pedro Leon's early strike set the visitors on their way and Mane put the result beyond doubt with a second goal in stoppage time.
On Saturday, Real Madrid's hopes of defending the title suffered a further dent as they went down 1-0 at Real Betis.
Benat Etxebarria netted the game's only goal after 17 minutes as Pepe Mel's side went some way to redeeming themselves after last weekend's 5-1 derby mauling at the hands of Sevilla.
The result left Jose Mourinho's champions in third place in the standings - 11 points adrift of arch rivals Barcelona.
Malaga registered their first league win in five games as they hammered Valencia 4-0 at La Rosaleda.
The margin of victory could have been even greater for the hosts who controlled the game from the off and went ahead just eight minutes in when Francisco Portillo curled home from Eliseu's cut-back.
Joaquin and Javier Saviola squandered a number of chances to increase the lead before the latter made it 2-0 15 minutes from time, a goal that was quickly followed by a third from Roque Santa Cruz.
Valencia were then reduced to 10 men as Adil Rami saw a second yellow card and Isco rounded off a fantastic evening for Malaga with a fourth in stoppage time.
Victory moves Malaga back into the top four for at least 24 hours ahead of Levante's meeting with Barcelona, while a seventh away game without victory this season sees Valencia slip four points off the Champions League places.
Real Valladolid stretched their unbeaten home run to six games as Manucho's second-half strike secured a 1-0 victory over Granada.
The Angolan had come close to breaking the deadlock in the first half with an overhead kick but made no mistake just after the hour when he was played in by Oscar Gonzalez and sent a fierce shot beyond Tono into the top corner.
Tono then did brilliantly to deny the former Manchester United striker a second moments later, but Granada could only force Dani Hernandez into one simple save from Floro Flores in their search for an equaliser as they remained just a point above the relegation zone.
Rayo Vallecano left it very late too see off out-of-form Real Mallorca 2-0 in an awful game.
A match utterly devoid of excitement looked headed for a goalless draw until Leo Baptistao broke the deadlock with a goal totally out of keeping with what had gone beforehand, firing home low from 30 yards.
He then turned provider as substitute Andrija Delibasic got a second in the 90th minute to keep the hosts well-placed in the top half and condemn the visitors to a seventh defeat in eight league games.
On Friday night, Real Sociedad's recent good form deserted them as they were held at home by struggling Osasuna.
Sociedad came into the game targeting a third straight win, but had to settle for just a point, despite edging a disappointing match.
Philippe Montanier's side, 2-1 victors over Malaga a fortnight ago and 4-0 winners against Rayo Vallecano on Monday, could have gone sixth with victory, but they drew a blank against the league's second-bottom side.
As it was they remained ninth, while their opponents moved to within a point of safety.