Madrid, Spain – Lionel Messi scored a pair of second-half goals and Barcelona cruised to a 5-0 win at Rayo Vallecano on Saturday to move three points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga.
David Villa slotted home Barca's first goal in the 20th minute, but it wasn't until the second half that the visitors really opened things up.
Messi scored three minutes after halftime courtesy of a pass from Martin Montoya, while Xavi made it 3-0 when he scored with a first-time effort after Jordi Alba got to the end line and pulled the ball back.
Cesc Fabregas continued the scoring barrage two minutes later by finishing off a cross from Pedro, while Messi capped the win in the 89th minute when he rounded the goalkeeper and slid the ball into the empty net.
After a positive start to the season, Rayo has now lost five of its last six games.
Espanyol 0, Malaga 0
Barcelona, Spain - Malaga failed to keep its positive momentum going on Saturday as the club was held to a 0-0 draw at Espanyol.
After winning two of its last three games in La Liga and recording a win over AC Milan in the Champions League in midweek, Malaga brought plenty of momentum into Saturday's game.
Malaga was the more threatening side but failed to capitalize on its chances, and it took a nice save from Espanyol goalkeeper Cristian Alvarez to keep out a stoppage-time header from Roque Santa Cruz.
Espanyol remains in the bottom three after the result while Malaga falls seven points back of leaders Barcelona.
Real Betis 1, Valencia 0
Seville, Spain - Real Betis took over fourth place in La Liga on Saturday as Salvador Sevilla's ninth-minute goal was enough for a 1-0 victory over Valencia.
Betis seized the initiative early when a cross from Juan Carlos wasn't properly cleared by the Valencia defense, allowing Sevilla to slam home the ball from the edge of the penalty area.
Real goalkeeper Adrian then preserved his third successive clean sheet as he got down to keep out a dangerous effort from Roberto Soldado three minutes from time.
The win is the fourth in the past six games for Real Betis.
Celta Vigo 1, Deportivo 1
Vigo, Spain - Deportivo claimed a 1-1 draw at Celta Vigo on Saturday but could have had more as the home side had to play the final 40 minutes with 10 men.
Deportivo was hoping to snap a four-game losing streak as it entered Saturday's match, but the visitors fell behind after eight minutes as Mario Bermejo scored on the rebound after Iago Aspas had his shot saved.
But Deportivo was back on level terms in the 29th minute when Juan Dominguez found the bottom corner of the net after being set up by Juan Carlos Valeron.
The visitors also had a great chance to snatch the win as Celta was reduced to 10 men with Gustavo Cabral receiving his second yellow card in the 52nd minute. However, Deportivo wasn't able to seriously test goalkeeper Javi Varas.