Primera Liga round-up

Barca, Real and Espanyol all victorious on Saturday

Last updated: 31st January 2010   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Primera Liga round-up

Benzema: At the double

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Barcelona remain five points clear at the top of Primera Liga after both they and Real Madrid recorded away victories on Saturday.

The champions temporarily opened up an eight-point gap at the top of the table earlier in the evening after Pedro Rodriguez scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Sporting Gijon.

But Real reduced that deficit when they claimed a 3-1 win at Deportivo - their first league win over La Coruna at the Riazor in 18 years - later on.

Tenerife-born winger Pedro slotted home Barcelona's 50th goal of the La Liga season 15 minutes before half time to snatch the spoils at El Molinon.

Mate Bilic went close with a header for the home side before Pedro put the visitors ahead with a clinical finish from a Andres Iniesta's through ball.

Xavi and Iniesta missed great opportunities to extend the Catalans' lead shortly into the second period, while Juan Pablo produced a fine save to deny Zlatan Ibrahimovic after that.

Second-placed Real Madrid kicked off shortly after Barca's victory but were unfazed as they powered into a 2-0 first half lead.

Esteban Granero headed the visitors ahead on 13 minutes before a sublime piece of skill from Guti set-up Karim Benzema shortly before half-time.

Deportivo hit back late on when Riki converted a penalty, however Benzema scored his second of the night and seventh league goal of the season to seal the win in stoppage time.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Luis Garcia's second-half strike gave Espanyol a much-needed victory at home to Athletic Bilbao.

The Barcelona-based side came up against an inspired Gorka Iraizoz in the first half, with the Athletic keeper denying his former club with several fine saves.

But the Catalans' constant pressure finally paid off 13 minutes into the second half, when Luis Garcia struck the winner to give Mauricio Pochettino's side a welcome boost following their recent dismal run.