BARCELONA, November 7 – Barcelona played some of their best attacking football of the season as they beat Getafe 3-1 to keep the pressure on Real Madrid at the top of the table.David Villa should have put Barca in the lead after just four minutes but Messi, at the heart of the majority of their best moves, put them on their way mid-way through the first half, slotting home from a Villa pass.
Villa was flagged off-side in front of goal after a delightful move involving Messi and Andres Iniesta but he did get on the score sheet minutes later with a clinical finish.
Getafe attacked more in the second-half but Cata Diaz was caught in possession by Messi who set-up Pedro Rodriguez for Barca’s third. Manu del Moral pulled a goal back from the penalty spot after Gerard Pique handled in the penalty area and was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
Both team’s missed further openings while Derek Boateng was also dismissed after receiving a second yellow card.
Later Real Madrid play local rivals Atletico and coach Jose Mourinho has tried to play down the importance of the game.
"I don’t aim to win derbies but to win championships and in order to do that you have to win games. The idea of playing derbies is to pick up points and that is what I want to do whether it is Atletico or anyone else," he said.
"We want to win and it will be a difficult game so we have to be on form. I know that for the fans there is more than just points at stake but that is not the case for me."
It is eleven years since Atletico last won at the Bernabeu but the team are in a positive mood after an important away win in the Europa League against Rosenborg.
High-flying Villarreal came from behind to beat Athletic Bilbao 4-1 and maintain their 100 per cent home record.
Villarreal had not even conceded a goal at El Madrigal but went behind after just six minutes when Fernando Llorente headed home a cross from Jon Aurtenetxe.
The home side took the game to Athletic and Giuseppe Rossi had several chances to bring Villarreal level before eventually Nilmar scored with keeper Gorka Iraizoz coming and failing to reach a cross.
Santi Cazorla put Villarreal ahead before the break and with Athletic reduced to ten following the expulsion of Aurtenetxe, Rossi finally found the back of the net and Jefferson Montero completed the scoring.
Bottom side Zaragoza picked up their first win of the season in a 3-2 victory over Mallorca.
Angel Lafita equalised Pierre Webo’s opener for Mallorca and while Michael Pereira restored the visitor’s advantage, Nicolas Bertolo and Gabi Fernandez, from the penalty spot, earned Zaragoza the three points.
Deportivo la Coruna came out on top 2-1 in a relegation battle with Levante. The Galician’s followed up their victory against Espanyol last weekend with goals from Ivan Riki and Ayathmi Artiles while Juanlu Gomez got Levante’s consolation.
Osasuna were comfortable 3-0 winners over Hercules with goals from Nacho Monreal, Manuel Lolo and Krisztian Vadocz while Sporting Gijon drew 1-1 with Almeria. Miguel Corona put the Andalusian side in front but Nacho Novo brought Sporting level.