Superstar Messi sets new record
A review of the weekend's action in the Spanish Primera Division.
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Barcelona forward Lionel Messi broke Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals in a calendar year as his brace helped Tito Vilanova's side to a 2-1 victory at Real Betis.
The Argentina international grabbed the opener in the 16th minute with a trademark dribble and finish to move level with the German striker, who achieved the feat in 1972.
His second goal of the evening, and 86th in a remarkable 2012, came with another left-footed shot past Betis goalkeeper Adrian after he had been teed up by Andres Iniesta after 25 minutes.
Radamel Falcao gave another demonstration of his predatory instincts with a five-goal haul as Atletico Madrid crushed hapless Deportivo La Coruna 6-0.
Diego Costa headed the hosts in front midway through the first half but thereafter it was a one-man show as Falcao stroked home the second moments later before volleying in a wonderful third just before the break.
And the flow of goals for the Colombian continued after half-time as he slotted home a penalty and two more from close range to take his tally for the season to 19.
Real Mallorca's winless streak in all competitions stretched to 12 games as four goals in a 16-minute period either side of half-time saw Levante romp to a 4-0 victory at the Ciutat de Valencia.
Obafemi Martins got the ball rolling three minutes before the interval as he successfully battled with Pedro Geromel for a long ball over the top before slotting past Dudu Aouate for his sixth goal of the season.
The game was well and truly over within 13 minutes of the restart as David Navarro headed home at the back post from a corner before Ruben Garcia and Vicente Iborra also got on the scoresheet after being set-up brilliantly by Martins.
Aritz Aduriz's first-half header earned struggling Athletic Bilbao a 1-0 victory against Celta Vigo, their first win in four games, to lift them away from the Primera Division relegation zone.
The striker converted Ibai Gomez's cross for his 12th goal in all competitions this season to give the home side some welcome relief, their last three games having yielded just a single point sandwiched between 5-1 defeats to Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The result also took them three points ahead of their opponents, whose attacking threat was limited throughout a lacklustre game.
Mesut Ozil's brace was decisive as Real Madrid twice came from behind to win 3-2 at Valladolid.
Manucho twice put the hosts ahead from corners, but Madrid equalised through first Karim Benzema and then, on the stroke of half-time, Ozil.
The German then curled home a sublime second-half free-kick, his fifth goal in seven games, to seal the points.
Ernesto Valverde's first domestic match in charge of Valencia ended in a 1-0 win at Osasuna, Roberto Soldado netting the game's only goal 11 minutes into the second half in Pamplona.
The win was Los Che's first on the road in La Liga this term, Mauricio Pellegrino having paid the price for the poor form when he was sacked earlier in the week after the club picked up only two points from their first seven away games.
Malaga moved back into fourth for at least 24 hours as goals from Joaquin, Javier Saviola, Ignacio Camacho and Roque Santa Cruz saw them seal an emphatic 4-0 victory over Granada at La Rosaleda.
Joaquin opened the scoring on 26 minutes as he capitalised on a slip from Pape Diakhate to stroll clean trough on goal and slot past Tono before Saviola doubled the hosts' advantage seven minutes later with a sharp turn and finish inside the area.
Granada then had a number of chances either side of the break to get back into the game, but they couldn't find the target and were punished by two further goals in the final 15 minutes as Weligton's header deflected in off Camacho before Santa Cruz rounded off the scoring with a classy finish from Diego Buonanotte's chipped pass.
A fifth defeat in seven games leaves Granada still rooted in the relegation zone, while Malaga are now ahead of Real Betis on goal difference in the final Champions League place with Los Verdiblancos set to take on Barcelona on Sunday.
Carlos Martinez's stoppage-time header salvaged a point for Real Sociedad as they stretched their unbeaten run to five Primera Division games with a 1-1 draw against Getafe at Anoeta.
In what had been a pretty turgid encounter for the most part, the game suddenly came to life in the final few minutes when Angel Lafita looked to have set
the visitors on course for a fourth consecutive win by nodding home from Jaime Gavilan's cross on 87 minutes.
However, Sociedad responded immediately and Martinez got up above everyone at the back post to convert Alberto de la Bella's cross to register his first goal of the season.
That goal cost Getafe the chance to move into fourth for at least a few hours, but they retained fifth spot and their two-point advantage over Sociedad, who moved up to eighth.
Alvaro Negredo returned from injury to head a stoppage-time equaliser as 10-man Sevilla secured a 2-2 draw to deny Espanyol a much-needed win in their battle against the drop.
The Spain striker has been linked with a move away from Sevilla, with president Jose Maria Del Nido warning players may have to be sold to make up for a deficit in the cash-strapped club accounts.
But the 27-year-old proved his worth by coming off bench in the 65th minute, having missed the previous three games with a hamstring problem, and converting a Coke cross to silence the Estadi Cornella-El Prat.
The draw represented a huge opportunity missed for the Catalan side, who led twice through Joan Verdu's early penalty and Simao's header after an hour and were a man up from the 39th minute following the dismissal of Jose Antonio Reyes.
Ivan Rakitic's penalty midway through the first half made it 1-1 at the break, but it was Negredo's last-gasp leveller which really hurt the hosts, denying them the chance to move out of the bottom three.