Barcelona put in the weekend performance of the weekend, demolishing Osasuna 7-0, with Lionel Messi pitching in with a hat-trick.
It only took Barcelona and Messi 18 minutes to find the break the deadlock, combining well with Alexis Sanchez to prod home from close range.
4 minutes later their lead was doubled, with Sanchez this time combining well with Alba to beat keeper Fernandez from inside the area.
After 34 minutes, Iniesta raised the advantage to three, rifling in a shot from 25 yards out, to make a second half comeback from Osasuna look very unlikely indeed.
After the half-time break, the hosts carried on where they left off. Iniesta set up Messi for his second goal of the night, finishing from a tight angle, and Messi had completed his hat-trick just as the hour mark passed by.
Two more goals would follow in the final 12 minutes for Barca, with substitute Tello beating a small handful of defenders to finish inside the Osasuna area, and Pedro put the game to bed in injury time.
A hugely one sided result means that Barcelona are attempting to make up the distance on Real Madrid in top spot, ensuring that if Real are to be caught, that Barca themselves will have the goal difference advantage. For Osasuna, the result leaves them with a damaged goal difference and within reaching distance of the relegation zone, as the strugglers start to find some form.
Real Madrid didn’t find their three points this week that easy to come by. A resilient Malaga side, fighting for their lives down the wrong end of the table, looked to make the most of their home advantage to grasp some valuable points at a time when their rivals are managing to do just that. But it wasn’t to be this weekend, as Ronaldo’s class proved to be the difference with a clinical finish with 23 minutes gone. The result of course ensures Real Madrid are asking questions of their title rivals to keep up the pace, but for Malaga, this loss leaves them dangerously looking over their shoulder as Rayo notched more points under their belt, and begin to rise to the surface from the depths of the ocean.
Rayo’s vital 3-1 win over relegation rivals Almeria sees Rayo leapfrog them in the table. Goals from Bueno and Larrivey (2), lifts Rayo out of the bottom three and up to 16th on 29 points, with only their inferior goal difference preventing them from overtaking Osasuna and Malaga respectively. Almeria have it all to do now as they find themselves in 19th, two points behind Getafe in 17th place.
Reverting back to the top end of the table, and Athletico Madrid this week made sure no ground was lost to their Madrid rivals in the title chase, thanks to Diego Costa’s goal, which proved to be the only goal of the game, but the winning one, which keeps Athletico in 2nd place and just a win behind league leaders Real.
Friday 14th March
Getafe CF 3 Granada 3
(Marica 6, Lopez 38, Lafita 72, Escudero so.80, Sanchez Rico-Soto 35, El-Arabi 62, 77, Iturra so.69)
Saturday 15th March
Levante 0 Celta Vigo 1
(Agudo Duran 19)
Rayo 3 Almería 1
(Bueno 38, Larrivey 57, 77, Soriano 72)
Málaga 0 Real Madrid 1
Atlético Madrid 1 Espanyol 0
(Diego Costa 55)
Sunday 16th March
Elche 0 Real Betis 0
Barcelona 7 Osasuna 0
(Messi 18, 63, 88, Sanchez 22, Iniesta 34, Tello 78, Pedro 90)
Sevilla 4 Valladolid 1
(Rakitic pen.23, Gameiro 41, pen.66, Figueiras 74, Javi Guerra 76)
Real Sociedad 1 Valencia 0
Monday 17th March
Villarreal 1 Athletic 1
(de Abreu 47, so.65, Aduriz 83)