Primera Liga round-up
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Barcelona produced a ruthless display to beat Recreativo 4-0 away from home.
Barcelona produced a ruthless display to beat Recreativo 4-0 away from home to forge three points ahead at the top of La Liga.
A devastating first-half display laid the foundations for the win before Lionel Messi scored a superb solo effort late on.
The reigning champions were ahead after just three minutes when Samuel Eto'o's swerving shot from 35 yards deceived Recreativo keeper Javier Vallejo.
Recreativo were not without chances of their own, though, and Antonio Jesus Vazquez struck the outside of the post on 24 minutes.
An excellent interchange of passes brought Barca's second goal five minutes before half-time when Gianluca Zambrotta dinked a cute finish over Vallejo after fine work from Ronaldinho and Deco.
And it was 3-0 before the break as Eto'o, having just been denied a fantastic individual goal, cushioned Silvinho's cross home at the far post.
Barca keeper Victor Valdes was tested early in the second half as he kept out Juanma and then Uche's header before later in the half thwarting Cheli's volley.
With time running out, Messi pinched possession, darted across the face of the penalty area and rolled his shot beyond Vallejo.
Title rivals Valencia suffered a shock 2-0 home defeat to Racing Santander.
Racing took the lead on 20 minutes through Pedro Munitis and made the game safe with Oriol Lozano's 63rd minute goal.
A quick-fire start to the contest saw Mallorca notch a 2-0 home win over Real Betis to leapfrog their opponents in the table.
Guillermo Pereyra scored inside the first minute and Juan Arango added the second goal on four minutes.
Athletic Bilbao remain deep in trouble at the bottom end of the table after losing 3-0 at home to Osasuna.
Inaki Munoz put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot on the half-hour mark and David Lopez scored a second two minutes after the interval.
Osasuna, who beat Rangers in the Uefa Cup in midweek, made certain of the points on 70 minutes when Jose Izquierdo scored, while Bilbao had Aritz Aduritz sent off in injury-time.