By Chris Stanton
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Barcelona affirmed their dominance of La Liga by claiming a 2-0 win over Alaves.
Barcelona affirmed their dominance of La Liga by claiming a 2-0 win over bottom club Alaves on Sunday.
The Catalans' lead over the chasing pack is now ten points after goals either side of the interval from Henrik Larsson and Lionel Messi secured Frank Rijkaard's side's 18th win in succession.
The winning margin could have been greater but for Ronaldinho's inexplicable miss from the penalty spot in the 68th minute.
Valencia head the list of pretenders after moving into second place with a comfortable 2-0 win at relegation-haunted Real Betis courtesy of a brace from David Villa.
The Spanish international struck in the 35th minute and made the game safe with his second goal of the game 12 minutes from time.
The Che leapfrogged Osasuna who slipped to a 2-1 defeat at upwardly mobile Villarreal.
It had looked rosy for the visitors at El Madrigal when Raul Garcia Escuredo shot the season's surprise packages into a 27th minute lead.
However, controversy reined in the latter stages of the second half when referee Arturo Ibanez awarded two penalties in four minutes to the hosts.
Argentine Juan Riquelme made no mistake from the spot in the 72nd minute and was similarly clinical when he ran up a second time.
There was a five-goal thriller as Italian midfielder Enzo Maresca also profited from a brace of penalties to hand visitors Sevilla a 3-2 win at Racing Santander.
Former Tottenham striker Fredi Kanoute shot Sevilla into the lead in the 13th minute, however Juanjo restored parity for Santander moments before the half time whistle.
However, the visitors were 3-1 up within eight minutes of the restart when Maresca kept his cool from 12 yards twice in six minutes.
Felipe Melo set up a tense finish with an 84th minute strike but there was to be no reprieve for the hosts and Sevilla hung on to move up to seventh.
It was a day to savour for Getafe who trounced Espanyol 5-0.
First half strikes from Daniel Guiza (3) and Mariano Pernia (24) put the hosts in firm control of the match.
That superiority was rammed home in the second half when the duo added to the tally with a goal apiece before Jaime Gavilan put the icing on the cake with a fifth four minutes from time.
Deportivo La Coruna were left to rue their inability to retain a two-goal lead when they had to settle for a point in a 2-2 draw against Real Mallorca.
The hosts raced into a two-goal lead before the half hour mark through Juan Valeron and a penalty from Diego Tristan, but unbowed Mallorca staged a second half comeback.
Yoshito Okubo got the visitors back on track seven minutes after the restart before Juan Arango restored parity just three minutes later.
Celta Vigo claimed a 2-0 win at Malaga's Estadio la Rosaleda.
After a goalless first half former Liverpool winger Antonio Nunez scored in the 46th minute to boost Celta's hopes of collecting another three Liga points.
The win was confirmed by David Silva in the 71st minute.
The evening's final match saw Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao share six goals, although Sociedad will be left to rue Bilbao's 93rd minute equaliser.
Turkish striker Nihat, who has been linked with a move away from the Liga club in recent weeks, scored a first half brace to leave the home side in the ascendancy at the break.
Any thoughts that it would be an easy night for Sociedad were immediately dispelled in the 47th minute, however, when Aritz Aduritz struck.
Aduritz was on hand again on 67 minutes to level terms but Dane Morten Skoubo struck just a minute later to restore the home side's lead.
Sociedad appeared on course for three points but their hearts were broken three minutes into added time when Andoni Iraola pulled his side level in dramatic fashion.
Click below for an individual match summary:
Deportivo 2-2 Mallorca
Getafe 5-0 Espanyol
Racing Santander 2-3 Sevilla
Real Betis 0-2 Valencia
Villarreal 2-1 Osasuna
Malaga 0-2 Celta Vigo
Barcelona 2-0 Alaves
Real Sociedad 3-3 Athletic Bilbao