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Barca back on top, Atleti keep up charge

Barcelona cruised past Malaga 3-0 to go back to the top of La Liga with goals from Gerard Pique, Pedro and Alexis. 

Pedro celebrates his goal for Barcelona with teammates.
Pedro celebrates his goal for Barcelona with teammates.

Despite creating  a number of chances, Barca were made to wait until the 40th minute before breaking the deadlock, with Pique slotting home from close range after Alexis had flicked the ball into his path.

Pedro doubled his side’s lead shortly after the break with a neat finish, before Alexis secured all three points, finishing at the far post with a close-range strike.

The result means Barca are again ahead of Atletico Madrid on goal difference, while they are one point clear of Real Madrid. Malaga, meanwhile, remain just two points above the relegation zone.

Atletico kept up their title charge to leapfrog Real again with a convincing 4-2 win over Rayo Vallecano on Sunday night.

David Villa opened the scoring for Atletico early on, with on-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois then saving a penalty from Rayo's Jonathan Viera to keep them in front.

Arda Turan soon scored a brace, either side of a Jonathan Viera strike, to put Diego Simeone’s side in command of the game.

A second-half own goal from Saul Niguez made sure of the result for Atletico, before Joaquin Larrivey's scored a late consolation for the home side, who remain stranded in the relegation zone.

Athletic Bilbao gave a clear demonstration of their Champions League credentials as they crushed local rivals Osasuna 5-1 with a powerful display on Sunday night.

Aritz Aduriz scored twice, taking the match away from the hosts with his side's second and third goals after Markel Susaeta's opener had been cancelled out by Emiliano Armenteros.

Osasuna were dealt another setback by the 76th-minute sending-off of Alejandro Arribas and Athletic took full advantage. Substitutes Ibai and Enrique Sola struck late on as the visitors strengthened their hold on fourth place in the Primera Division.

Almeria kick-started their season as they ended a run of four games without a win with a 1-0 victory over Getafe.

Jonathan Zongo's second-half header was all that separated the two sides as Miguel Moya pulled off many great saves to keep the scoreline respectable.

The win moves Francisco Rodriguez's side out of the danger zone while their opponents remain midtable following a disappointing run of just one win in their last seven matches.

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