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Zenit sign Bart Simpson

The Toe Poke 11 hours ago
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Mar 9, 2013

Messi scores again as Barca cruise

Barcelona rang the changes ahead of next week's Champions League clash with AC Milan but still picked up a comfortable 2-0 La Liga win over Deportivo La Coruna at the Camp Nou.

Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Andres Iniesta were among those excused duty against the league's bottom side, but the reserves enjoyed near total dominance in the first period, the only surprise being that Alexis Sanchez's 38th-minute goal was all they had to show for it.

Messi and Iniesta were sent on to close out the victory in the second half and combined for the second goal, a superb Messi finish for his 40th league goal of the season. It was the 17th consecutive La Liga game in which Messi has scored.

Malaga failed to take maximum points off Valladolid at the Jose Zorilla stadium, with a 1-1 draw meaning they could slip out of the Champions League places by the end of the weekend.

Manuel Pellegrini fielded an under-strength side with the club's Champions League last-16 second-leg match with Porto on Wednesday in mind, resting Isco and Joaquin.

However, his team got off to a great start when Martin Demichelis headed them into the lead after eight minutes, but Manucho equalised for the hosts shortly before half-time.

Rayo Vallecano moved to within two points of the Champions League places after a convincing 2-0 win at home to Espanyol.

An early goal by Chori Dominguez gave the Madrid side the perfect start and Piti wrapped up the points by netting on 77 minutes.

Alejandro Alfaro gave Real Mallorca's survival hopes another boost as his two goals helped see off Sevilla 2-1.

A week after he scored his first league goal of the season as Mallorca came from behind to win at Granada, the forward netted in each half to move his side up to third bottom, just one point from safety.

Alvaro Negredo briefly levelled for Sevilla just after the hour mark, but, with the lively Giovani Dos Santos causing plenty of problems, the hosts fully deserved their win. They finished the match with 10 men after the sending off of Javi Marquez for a second yellow card in the third minute of stoppage time, but by then the work was done.

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