Barcelona, Spain – Lionel Messi came off the bench in the second half and extended his scoring streak in league play to 17 consecutive matches on Saturday as Barcelona rolled to a 2-0 win over Deportivo at the Camp Nou.
Coming off successive defeats to arch rivals Real Madrid in La Liga and the Copa del Rey, Barcelona rebounded nicely against bottom-of-the-table Deportivo behind goals from Messi and Alexis Sanchez to move a comfortable 14 points clear at the top of La Liga.
Sanchez got the Catalans off to a flying start in the 38th minute when he got on the end of a superb cross from Dani Alves and nodded it into the bottom left corner of the net.
Messi came on in the 62nd minute for David Villa and found the back of the net two minutes from time after playing a quick one-two with Sanchez. Messi then got the ball back in the center of the box and deftly chipped it over the head of Deportivo goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia to secure all three points.
The Argentine superstar has 39 goals in La Liga this term and 51 tallies in all competitions.
Deportivo, meanwhile, remains on the bottom of the table with 17 points.
Rayo Vallecano 2, Espanyol 0
Madrid, Spain - Rayo Vallecano moved to within one point of a Europa League place on Saturday after posting a comfortable 2-0 win over Espanyol at the Campo de Futbol de Vallecas.
Vallecano got on the score sheet just nine minutes into the contest as Alejandro Dominguez ran onto a pass from Leo and fired a left-footed strike into the bottom right corner of the net for the 1-0 lead.
The hosts made it 2-0 13 minutes from time when Piti ran onto a quick through pass from Jordi Figueras and powered a left-footed shot from outside the box past Espanyol goalkeeper Francisco Casilla.
The result sees Vallecano move to 41 points, one behind Valencia for the final Europa League spot, while Espanyol stays in 13th place on 32 points.
Valladolid 1, Malaga 1
Valladolid, Spain - Valladolid and Malaga exchanged first-half tallies on Saturday as the sides battled to a 1-1 draw at the Jose Zorrilla.
Malaga struck first just eight minutes into the contest as Martin Demichelis got his head to a cross from Lucas Piazon and nodded into the bottom left corner to give his side the early advantage.
But four minutes before the break, Valladolid found its equalizer through Manucho, who headed home a pass from Alvaro Rubio to level the score,
Valladolid improved to 35 points from 27 matches, while Malaga stays in fourth place on 44 points.
Mallorca 2, Sevilla 1
Mallorca, Spain - Alfaro scored on each side of the interval on Saturday as Mallorca edged Sevilla, 2-1, at the Iberostar Stadium.
Alfaro put the home side in front after just 16 minutes when he pounced on a loose ball in the Sevilla penalty area following a corner kick and fired it into the bottom right corner of the net.
Sevilla found an equalizer in the 61st minute when Alvaro Negredo slipped through the Mallorca defense courtesy of a nice ball by Ivan Rakitic and easily put it past Mallorca goalkeeper Dudu Aouate to put the sides on even terms.
But just five minutes later it was Alfaro who put Mallorca in front when he banged home a rebound in front of goal following another corner kick.
The result moves Mallorca to within one point of safety on 24 points from 27 matches, while Sevilla remains in 11th place on 35 points and has just one away win this term.