Madrid: Barcelona thunder-bolted Almeria 8-0 to match their biggest ever away win but remained 2nd in La Liga behind Real Madrid who thrashed Athletic Bilbao 5-1 on Saturday.
World Footballer of the Year Lionel Messi scored a hattrick for Barca, taking his tally for this season to 13 goals, while sub Bojan Krkic netted it twice, Iniesta and Pedro bagged one apiece and Santiago Acasiete netted a disappointing own goal.
Barcelona’s biggest away win since they hammered Las Palmas by the same scoreline in 1959 led to the struggling Almeria side to sack their coach Juan Manuel Lillo soon after the match.
At Santiago Bernabeu, La Liga top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo also got a hattrick to move on to 14 goals, while Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Ramos also scored to ensure Jose Mourinho’s side maintained their one-point advantage at the top.
With 9 days to go for the unbeaten Real to visit the Nou Camp,the current no.1 side have 32 points from 12 matches. Barca have 31 points and have opened up a seven-point lead over the no.3 Villarreal who drew 1-1 at home with local rivals Valencia, who are fourth with 21 points.
Villarreal’s Italy international striker Rossi equalised in the 73rd minute to cancel out Aritz Aduriz’s 21st minute opener. Injury struck Valencia had Lithuanian defender M. Stankevicius sent off 10 minutes from time but Villarreal could not find a winner and lost their 100% home record for this season.
David Villa’s backheel amidst a crowd of defenders completed a neat one-two with Lionel Messi, and the Argentine fired past Diego Alves from the edge of the penalty area in the 17th minute.
Within a minute or two, Iniesta made it 2-0 by pouncing to score as a defender deflected the ball in the penalty box with his leg and in the 27th minute, similar panic led to Acasiete steering Maxwell’s cross into his own net.
Fontas demonstrated his class with a majestic long pass out of defence for Pedro to scamper clear and net it in the 35th minute of play and two minutes later Messi burst into the area on to Pedro’s pass and scored at the second attempt.
Bojan picked up Messi’s through pass and made it 6-0 after squirming between three defenders in the 62nd minute and Messi completed his hattrick.Messi set up Bojan for his second goal in the 73rd and a bewildered goalie Alves could only smile and shake his head as he went to pick the ball out of the back of the net yet again.
Jose Mourinho was watching from the stands at the Bernabeu, completing his 2 match touchline ban, and saw his side race into an early lead with Gonzalo Higuain’s clever turn and shot in the 19th minute of play. Portugal international Christiano Ronaldo doubled the advantage with a low drive on the half-hour after a great cushioned lay-off from Ozil before Spain striker Fernando Llorente pulled one back for the visitors.
Angel di Maria won a penalty in the 57th minute to which Sergio Ramos scored and Ronaldo netted a fierce freekick and then Real’s second penalty to wrap up the win in the final minute, thus claiming his hattrick in what seemed to be a one-sided affair this weekend.