Barca crush Mallorca, ten-man Real win derby
Pedro netted twice and Thierry Henry scored his first of the season to set leaders Barcelona on their way to a 4-2 win over Real Mallorca in La Liga on Saturday that kept the champions a point clear of Real Madrid.
Second-placed Real Madrid, missing the injured Cristiano Ronaldo, held on for a 3-2 win at city rivals Atletico in the late match despite going down to ten men in the 66th minute.
Real were cruising after Brazilians Kaka and Marcelo scored first-half goals and Gonzalo Higuain added a third on 64 minutes before Sergio Ramos was shown a straight red for a foul on Sergio Aguero.
Roared on by the home crowd, Diego Forlan pulled a goal back with 11 minutes of regular time left, Aguero added another three minutes later and Iker Casillas produced a superb save to deny the Argentina striker at the death as Real held firm.
Barca have 26 points from 10 matches, Real have 25 and Sevilla, who host Villarreal on Sunday, have 19 in third.
Barca manager Pep Guardiola fielded an unfamiliar starting lineup at the Nou Camp after consecutive draws against Osasuna and Rubin Kazan, leaving Spain midfielders Xavi and Andres Iniesta on the bench along with Argentina forward Lionel Messi.
The ploy seemed to be paying off when Zlatan Ibrahimovic released Pedro to slot home Barca's first in the 11th minute but they were rocked back nine minutes later when Jose Carlos Nunes headed in from a corner.
Mallorca goalkeeper Dudu Aouate was unlucky to concede a second five minutes before halftime after he produced three reflex saves during a desperate goalmouth scramble to deny Pedro, Henry and Sergio Busquets. But Pedro eventually smashed the ball into the net from close range.
Pedro was again involved in Barca's third four minutes later, floating a freekick to the far post that Busquets nodded back across goal for Henry to head into the empty net.
Messi replaced Pedro in the 51st minute and stroked home a late penalty after Ibrahimovic was chopped down in the area before Alhassane Keita scored a consolation in added time.
Deportivo Coruna made light of having a player sent off in each half earlier on Saturday to win 2-0 at Getafe and climb above Valencia, who entertain promoted Real Zaragoza, on Sunday, into fourth.
Mista nodded the visitors in front in the 15th minute before Miguel Angel Lotina's side went down to 10 men 12 minutes later.
Striker Riki was shown a second yellow card for what appeared from television replays to be an attempted handball after he was earlier booked for diving in the penalty area.
The referee sent an angry Lotina off the bench shortly after for the coach's repeated protests. Depor doubled their lead on the hour when Mista presented defender Filipe with a simple tap in.
Midfielder Sergio was dismissed with 17 minutes of regular time left for a second yellow but Depor kept Getafe at bay and are level on 19 points with Sevilla and one ahead of Valencia.
Also on Saturday, Malaga fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at promoted Tenerife and moved one place off the bottom, above Xerez, who play at Real Valladolid on Sunday, on goal difference.