Two-goal Messi helps Barcelona past Villarreal
Two second-half goals from Lionel Messi helped FC Barcelona to a 3-1 win against Villarreal CF which lifts them two points above Real Madrid CF at the Liga summit.
David Villa (22) opened the scoring when he finished off Andrés Iniesta's pass. Nilmar swiftly levelled for the Yellow Submarine, waltzing through the Barça rearguard and firing in off the far post. Messi proved the difference after the break, though, exchanging a series of passes with Pedro Rodríguez for a delightful goal (58) before turning in a late third. Madrid face Real Sporting de Gijón on Sunday.
Diego Forlán, meanwhile, scored two and set up another as Club Atlético de Madrid climbed to fifth by defeating CA Osasuna 3-0. Forlán's opener (26) was his first in 14 matches for club and country, while his second and Los Colchoneros's third came ten minutes after Nacho Monreal (60) was sent off.
Elsewhere, Athletic Club held on for a 1-0 home victory against UD Almería despite playing the last 21 minutes with nine men. Mikel San José squandered an early penalty for Athletic, who nonetheless took the lead soon after through Fernando Llorente. Koikili (45) and Xabi Castillo (69) were dismissed for the hosts.