Messi brace as Barca beat Valencia; Atletico Madrid swat away Sevilla
Lionel Messi scored a pair of goals to help Barcelona secure a 4-2 victory over 10-man Valencia at the Camp Nou on Sunday.
The win sees Luis Enrique's men tighten their grip on second place in La Liga, where they are two points behind leaders Real Madrid, who still have a game in hand.
Eliaquim Mangala opened the scoring just before the half-hour mark for the visitors, before Luis Suarez equalised from a throw-in six minutes later.
Messi converted from the spot after Mangala was sent off for a foul in the penalty box on 45 minutes, only to be answered by Barca academy product Munir El Haddadi seconds later.
But Barca would not be denied, and Messi collected his second seven minutes after the break -- the Argentina man receiving an Andres Iniesta pass on the right, beating a defender and sliding his shot past Valencia keeper Diego Alves from an angle.
Barcelona then sealed the victory just before the final whistle -- Neymar crossing for substitute Andre Gomes to tap in from close range.
Diego Godin, Antoine Griezmann and Koke fired Atletico Madrid to a crucial 3-1 victory over rivals Sevilla.
Godin scored with a first-half header before Griezmann and Koke struck in the second half to move Atletico to within two points of their third-placed visitors.
Sevilla were looking to close the gap on leaders Real Madrid, but only had Joaquin Correa's consolation to show for their efforts and remain eight points adrift as their already faint title hopes suffered another blow.
Defeat capped a miserable week for Sevilla after they were dumped out of the Champions League by Leicester on Tuesday.
A solitary goal from Iago Aspas was enough to earn Celta Vigo a 1-0 win at Deportivo.
The former Liverpool forward tapped in a cross from Claudio Beauvue with 16 minutes remaining.
Meanwhile, Malaga and Leganes fought to a goalless draw at the Butarque.
Malaga moved six points clear of the relegation places with the point, while visiting Leganes are now five points from safety.
Eighteenth-placed Sporting Gijon collected a critical 3-1 win versus Granada at El Molinon.
Lacina Traore, Jean-Sylvain Babin and Carlos Carmona scored in a seven-minute flurry of second-half goals for the home side to answer Sverrir Ingason's opener in the 51st minute.
Press Association contributed to this report.