Málaga slip down to fifth place after Betis beat Levante 2-0 and the Blue and Whites went down 3-1 to runaway leaders Barcelona. Messi, Fabregas and Thiago were the scorers for Barcelona, Buonanotte curling a late free kick into the top corner of the net for a consolation goal.
La Liga looks pretty much like a one-horse race at this stage, roughly the midpoint of the season. Real Madrid did themselves no good with a 0-0 draw at Osasuna and could find themselves 18 points adrift of their arch-rivals by the end of the weekend.
Real Madrid made a bright start, Benzema scoring after two minutes, but were reduced to ten men after just six minutes of their match against Real Sociedad after goalkeeper Adán was dismissed for bringing down Carlos Vela inside the area.
Pizzi scored the only goal of the match, picking up a bad back pass, to condemn the Blue and Whites to defeat although they are still holding on to fourth place in La Liga.
Málaga secured their first victory over Real Madrid in twenty years, winning the match 3-2. Isco and Santa Cruz were the scorers for the Blue and Whites, Benzema and an own goal from Sanchez for Madrid. The question of whether Málaga would be trying as hard knowing that wherever they finish they will not be playing in Europe appears to …
In the Champions League, Málaga have drawn FC Porto, Real Madrid get Manchester United and Barcelona have to contend with AC Milan.
Barcelona are now nine points clear at the top of La Liga after beating second placed Atlético Madrid 4-1 on Sunday. Messi bagged a brace with Correia and Busquets scoring one each in a dominant performance by the Catalans. Falcao was once again on the scoresheet for Atlético.
Two second half goals from Demichelis and Eliseu, the latter from the penalty spot, gave the Blue and Whites a 0-2 victory over fierce local rivals Sevilla. Fazio, who brought down Joaquin inside the area to concede the penalty, was given his marching orders. Málaga tighten their grip on the all important fourth place in La Liga.
In the Copa del Rey fifth round first leg matches, Messi grabbed two goals as Barcelona overcame Córdoba 0-2. Sevilla look fairly comfortable after thrashing Mallorca 0-5 with goals from Negredo (2), Medel, Botía and Luna.
Lionel Messi set a new record on Sunday as he scored both goals in Barcelona’s 1-2 win over Betis. The first goal equalled Gerd Muller’s 1972 record of 85 goals in a calendar year for club and country, the second set the new record.