Joy of six for brilliant Barca, Atleti lose
Barcelona are sitting pretty 12 points clear at the top of the Primera Division after thrashing Getafe 6-1 on Sunday lunchtime, and then enjoying their evening's viewing as Atletico Madrid lost 2-1 at city rivals Rayo Vallecano.
Alexis Sanchez gave the hosts the lead after only six minutes, clipping the ball into the net for his first league goal in ten months after fine work from Andres Iniesta. Lionel Messi doubled the advantage soon afterwards, sliding home from Thiago Alcantara's assist.
On 58 minutes, David Villa scored his first goal since November to make it 3-0, slipping the ball under goalkeeper Jordi Codina from Jordi Alba's through pass.
Substitute Cristian Tello made it four on 79 minutes as he collected a pass from Messi before firing past the helpless Codina.
Spain Under-21 forward Alvaro Vasquez reduced the arrears as Alba failed to deal with a long ball, but Barca struck twice in stoppage time. First, Iniesta seized on a loose ball to fire home after Messi had been dispossessed, and then Gerard Pique placed into the empty net after unselfish play from Thiago.
First half strikes from Alhassane Bangouraan and Leo Baptistao saw Rayo Vallecano to a 2-1 victory in the Madrid derby over Atletico.
Second-placed Atletico - who had lost just one of their last ten - were never in the game with Radamel Falcao's last-gasp strike a mere consolation, while defensively their inability to stop and defend crosses into the box was their downfall.
In contrast, Rayo defended bravely and showed why they are so imperious at home, with an impressive attacking display to register their fifth victory in their last six matches at the Estadio Teresa Rivero.
Real Sociedad boosted their push for a Europa League place as goals from Antoine Griezmann and Imanol Agirretxe saw off Real Zaragoza 2-1.
Zaragoza left-back Hector endured a nightmare league debut, sent off for two bookable offences after only 22 minutes to deal his team, already a goal down, a blow from which they would not recover.
Griezmann had opened the scoring after 11 minutes and Agirretxe doubled it shortly after the hour mark, with Zaragoza made to wait until deep in injury time for Apono to get their goal from the penalty spot.
The defeat means Manolo Jimenez's side retain their status as the Primera Division's worst team at home this season.
Espanyol climbed above Athletic Bilbao as they capitalised on a miserable day for the Basque side with a 4-0 win.
Athletic had plenty of chances and possession but no luck and Espanyol took full advantage with goals from Hector Moreno, Victor Sanchez, Christian Stuani and Joan Verdu.
Los Leones also lost Iker Muniain and Ibai Gomez to injury as a three-match unbeaten run ended abruptly.
Information from the Press Association was used in this report