Barcelona stretch lead as Real held
Published 17/12/2012 | 05:00
Barcelona increased their lead in La Liga to nine points with a 4-1 victory over second-placed Atletico Madrid, while Real Madrid lost further ground in a 2-2 draw with Espanyol.
The deadlock at the Nou Camp was broken by the visitors after 31 minutes when Falcao outpaced Sergio Busquets before chipping brilliantly over Valdes.
Barcelona responded when Adriano stroked the ball into top corner of the net five minutes later and then took the lead before the break courtesy of Busquets. Lionel Messi finished the scoring for Barcelona in the second half, hitting the net in the 57th and 88th minute.
Earlier, Real were held to a 2-2 draw by Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu when Juan Angel Albin struck late to heap more pressure on Jose Mourinho.
Real were desperate for a victory to stay in touch at the top but were unable to clear a corner which fell to Albin who smashed it in from close range. They now trail Barca by 13 points.
Espanyol scored first when Sergio Garcia beat two defenders before finding the bottom corner of the net. Cristiano Ronaldo equalised before the break after receiving Sami Khedira's cross from the right and firing across Kiko Casilla.
Real Madrid took the lead in the 48th minute when Ronaldo picked out Fabio Coentrao, who took a touch and slotted past Casilla before Albin's strike silenced the Bernabeu.
Malaga strengthened their hold on fourth place with a convincing 2-0 win at Sevilla in Saturday's Andalusian derby.
In Italy, Juventus extended their lead at the top of Serie A with an embarrassingly easy 3-0 win over Atalanta.
Andrea Pirlo, Mirko Vucinic and Claudio Marchisio were on target as the title-holders went seven points clear of second-placed Inter.
AC Milan were given a helping hand on their way to a 4-1 win over lowly Pescara, who gave away two own-goals, while Luca Toni scored twice as Fiorentina produced another impressive performance to beat bottom club Siena by the same score.
Roberto Donadoni's Parma also won 4-1, at home to Cagliari, while Sergio Pellissier's 87th-minute goal gave Chievo a 1-0 win over sixth-placed AS Roma in fog-bound Verona.
In Germany, champions Borussia Dortmund beat Hoffenheim 3-1 to move back into the top three heading into the Bundesliga's winter break.
Mario Goetze opened the scoring for the visitors when he superbly drilled in through the legs of defender Andreas Beck and past 'keeper Koen Casteels in the 26th minute. However, they still trail leaders Bayern Munich by 12 points.