independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Iniesta hits top gear for rampaging Barcelona

European round-up

Andres Iniesta twice set up Lionel Messi, created a goal for Cesc Fabregas and netted a brilliant effort of his own as La Liga leaders Barcelona extended their near-perfect start with a thumping 4-0 win at Levante.

The Spain playmaker's masterful performance at Levante's Ciutat de Valencia Stadium helped maintain unbeaten Barca's three-point lead over Atletico Madrid, who earlier crushed nine-man Sevilla 4-0.

Barca's victory, their 12th in 13 matches, put them 11 points clear of third-placed champions Real Madrid.

Benat Etxebarria gave Real Betis a surprise 1-0 win over Real in Seville to leave the champions eight points behind leaders Barcelona having played a game more.

Spain midfielder Benat pounced on an error to score after 17 minutes and Jose Mourinho's team ran out of steam in the second half.

Betis pressured the visitors and took the lead when Alvaro Arbeloa's miscued clearance reached Benat who skipped past Sami Khedira and fired a low shot past Iker Casillas.

Extended

Atletico Madrid extended their best ever league as Diego Simeone's side rolled over nine-man Sevilla 4-0.

Radamel Falcao got Atletico going from the penalty spot in the 22nd minute after Federico Fazio was red-carded for fouling Jorge ' Koke' Resurrecion in the area.

In Italy, Juventus missed the chance to move seven points clear at the top of Serie A with a 1-0 defeat at AC Milan.

A Robinho penalty in the 31st minute decided the game in the Rossoneri's favour as Juve were beaten for only the second time this season.

Torino and Fiorentina shared four goals in an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Stadio Olimpico. Alessio Cerci put the home side in front in the 40th minute and Gonzalo Rodriguez responded from the penalty spot in the 74th minute.

Valter Birsa's first goal for Torino restored their lead two minutes later, but Mounir El Hamdaoui struck five minutes from time to snatch a point for the Viola.

Elsewhere, Andrea Poli's goal sealed a 1-0 win that both moved Sampdoria further clear of the relegation zone and condemned Bologna to a seventh defeat in eight away games.

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