Messi powers Barcelona

Argentine inches closer to Zarra's long-standing La Liga record

Messi powers Barcelona

 Barcelona maintained their four-point lead over Real Madrid at the top of La Liga ahead of next weekend's first El Clasico of the season with a 3-0 win over Eibar on Saturday.

After a frustrating opening 45 minutes, Barca finally went in front when Xavi Hernandez dinked home his first goal of the season from Lionel Messi's slide rule pass on the hour mark.

Neymar then volleyed home to double the hosts' advantage before the Brazilian teed up Messi to drive home the third and take the Argentine to within one goal of equalling Telmo Zarra as the all-time leading scorer in La Liga.

"We struggled to make the breakthrough, but once you score the first one it is a lot easier," Xavi told Canal Plus.

"We kept another clean sheet, which shows we are working well defensively as well." Messi was looking to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his Barca debut this week by breaking the record, but he was frustrated by Eibar's massed ranks of well-organised defenders during the opening 45 minutes.

Atletico back on track

A first half Tiago header set up Atletico Madrid’s 2-0 victory over Espanyol as they seek to get back on track following a stuttering start to the season.

The Portuguese leapt well and steered a cross from Gabi into the top corner before the break and mid-way through the second half substitute Mario Suarez knocked the ball home from close range to seal the win. Atletico move up to fourth in the table with 17 points from eight games while Espanyol, who struggled against the home side's physical play, are down at 11th on nine points.

In a dent to Valencia’s Champions League ambitions, they suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Deportivo La Coruna. 

After an own goal from Jose Gaya set Valencia on the back foot, Lucas and Joan Verdu scored in the second half to hand the away side their first defeat of the season. 

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