Barcelona crushed Athletic Bilbao 5-1 at Camp Nou on Saturday to continue their undefeated start to the La Liga season.
The win marked the best ever start to a La Liga season of any side in the Spanish top-flight’s 113-year history and also saw Lionel Messi close within a goal of Gerd Muller’s 85-goal record in a calendar year following another brace.
The marker was set from the 23rd minute, when Gerard Pique poked home the opener, before Messi and Adriano also struck to send Barca into a deserved three-goal lead at half-time.
Cesc Fabregas added a fourth shortly before the hour mark and despite a consolation effort from Ibai Gomez, Messi scored again with 20 minutes remaining to put the finishing touches on the win.
With Real Madrid trailing the league leaders by a mammoth 17 points before kick-off, the pressure was on Jose Mourinho’s side to deliver in the derby against second-placed Atletico Madrid.
And so they did, Real producing a clinical performance to emerge 2-0 victors at the Bernabeu, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Oezil on target.
Mourinho gave fans the opportunity to boo him on the pitch 40 minutes before kick-off, but was greeted positively despite his brazen ploy.
And it did not take long for his side to take the lead in the match, as Ronaldo slotted home a rasping free-kick in the 16th minute.
The home side were slightly fortunate to go into the break with 11 men after Ramos caught Atletico’s in-form forward Radamel Falcao with a stray elbow as the two tussled for possession right in front of the linesman.
Half-time failed to calm either team as the second stanza was punctuated by spats between players from each side, just as the first half had been.
Oezil settled tensions when he caught makeshift left-back Cata Diaz out of position and fired home Ronaldo’s pinpoint delivery with a delightful volley on 66 minutes.
Real had a game in hand on Barcelona but remain 14 points behind the leaders and eight behind Atletico.
Valencia sacked coach Mauricio Pellegrino after a 5-2 hammering at home by Real Sociedad.
The loss leaves Valencia languishing in 12th place and Pellegrino was shown the door soon after the clash despite his side battling with only 10 men for over a half.
Jonas was handed a straight red card for a stray elbow in the 41st minute with the home side 1-0 up.
The dismissal sparked three goals in 20 minutes for the visitors and despite Spain international Roberto Soldado completing his brace for Valencia, Sociedad went on to score through Imanol Agirretxe and Carlos Vela in the final 10 minutes to end Pellegrino’s rein at the club.
Malaga continue to stutter with a 1-0 loss at Getafe the latest in a streak of only one win in eight games.
Lopo put Getafe ahead shortly before the hour mark the home side held on despite a late red card to Diego Castro.
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