Barca closes La Liga gap with Sevilla defeat

Barcelona closed the gap on first-place Real 0 win at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

The Catalans reduced the deficit to seven points with Jose Mourinho's men set to return to La Liga action Sunday against Malaga.

Barcelona's midfield maestro handed the visitors the lead as Xavi bagged his ninth goal of the campaign with a well-taken free kick.

Lionel Messi doubled the lead with his 31st goal of the La Liga season as the Argentine combined well with Andres Iniesta before chipping his shot over Andres Palop and into the back of the net.

Barcelona has won five straight in league play to improve to 63 points on the season, while Sevilla has lost two straight to fall seven points adrift of fourth place.

Rayo Vallecano 3, Real Betis 0

Madrid, Spain - Rayo Vallecano hit for three second-half goals to cruise past Real Betis with a 3-0 win at the Teresa Rivero on Saturday.

Emiliano Armenteros, who is on loan from Sevilla, got the home side off the mark in the 51st minute before Diego Costa, on loan from Atletico Madrid, doubled the lead in the 78th minute. Raul Tamudo completed the comfortable win late on with Rayo's third goal.

Rayo Vallecano sits eighth in La Liga with 37 points, while Real Betis, with three straight losses, remains just six points away from the relegation zone.

Real Zaragoza 1, Osasuna 1

Aragon, Spain - Real Zaragoza and Osasuna traded goals two minutes apart late in the second half as the two sides played to a 1-1 draw at the Estadio La Romareda on Saturday.

Helder Postiga thought he had won the match for Real Zaragoza with his goal in the 86th minute, but Roversio headed home an equalizer for Osasuna two minutes later to deny the home side all three points.

Zaragoza remains bottom of La Liga on 19 points, while Osasuna misses out on the chance to climb into fourth place as it stay fifth on 39 points.

Granada 2, Sporting Gijon 1

Granada, Spain - Granada made a big stride towards safety on Saturday as it defeated Sporting Gijon, 2-1, at Los Carmenes.

Carlos Martins got the home side of to a flying start with a free-kick goal in the third minute, and Guilherme Siqueira doubled the lead in the 24th minute. Adrian Colunga pulled back a consolation goal for Sporting deep into stoppage time.

The win snaps a three-game losing skid for Granada, which moves the club further away from the relegation zone. Sporting Gijon remains second from bottom on 24 points.

Getafe 1, Real Sociedad 0

Getafe, Spain - Getafe narrowly edged Real Sociedad with a 1-0 win on Saturday thanks to an own goal from Inigo Martinez in the 81st minute.

With two successive wins, Getafe improves to 35 points on the year to jump ahead of Real Sociedad, which sits 13th in the table on 33 points.