Primera Liga round-up
Barcelona kept their faint title hopes alive with an away win over Racing Santander while Valencia were held at home.
By Jamie Casey
Last Updated: 15/03/12 1:51pm
Barcelona kept their faint title hopes alive with an away win over Racing Santander while Valencia were held at home to Mallorca.
Pep Guardiola's men ensured the gap between themselves and league leaders Real Madrid remained at 10 points by the end of the weekend, courtesy of a 2-0 win at El Sardinero.
Lionel Messi continued his never-ending goalscoring streak with both goals either side of half-time - his 49th and 50th goals of the season - and Barca barely got out of first gear as they cruised to another three points.
Third-placed Valencia surrendered a two-goal half-time lead at the Mestalla, where Mallorca clawed their way back to a 2-2 draw, courtesy of second-half goals from Emilio Nsue and Victor.
Valencia's second-half misery was complete as Tino Costa received his marching orders for a professional foul.
Elsewhere, Espanyol thumped Rayo Vallecano 5-1 as Nigerian striker Kalu Uche helped himself to a hat-trick. The home side were four up by the break, with Phillipe Coutinho chipping in with a brace.
Goals from Miranda and Falcao preserved Atletico Madrid's top-half status in a comfortable 2-0 win over Granada, who will be looking over their shoulders at the relegation zone following their loss.
Finally, Athletic Bilbao suffered a Europa League hangover, going down 2-1 away to Osasuna, who leapfrogged their opponents upon collecting the three points.
Ander Iturraspe put through his own net inside the opening ten minutes, and the hosts were two to the good shortly after the half-hour mark thanks to Raul Garcia.
Substitute Fernando Llorente pulled one back after the break, but Bilbao could not find an equaliser, with the defeat pushing them down to seventh place.