Unbeatable Barcelona thrash Valladolid, go 8 points clear (1st Lead)
Jan 23, 2010, 21:24 GMT
Madrid - Barcelona confirmed their status as the best football team in the world on Saturday with another high-quality display, thrashing lowly Valladolid 3-0 away.
The latest rout stretches their lead atop La Liga to eight points.
Barca have 49 points from 19 games. Real, who are at home to Malaga on Sunday, have 41.
This is the fifth time in La Liga history that a team have reached the halfway point unbeaten. Josep Guardiola's slick side have never looked in danger of defeat and have conceded just 10 goals, a new record.
Lionel Messi and company could have scored more goals, had they not eased up in the second half.
Valladolid, who are fourth from bottom, made a spirited start only to be cruelly hit by two Barca sucker punches.
In the 21st minute, Dani Alves escaped down the right and centred for Xavi to make it 1-0 with a classy volley.
Just two minutes later, the indefatigable Alves broke free again and centred for Zlatan Ibrahimovic - but his cross accidently drifted over goalkeeper Justo Villar for the second score.
The two quick goals knocked the stuffing out of Valladolid, who never threatened to turn the match around.
Barca enjoyed 70 per cent possession and could have scored five or six times in the second half. In the 55th minute, Ibrahimovic centred for Messi to make it 3-0 with his trusty left foot.
It was Messi's 15th league goal of the season and leaves him at the top of the scorers' chart, one goal above Valencia's David Villa.
Earlier Saturday, Sevilla halted their four-match losing streak by beating Almeria 1-0 at home on an early goal from Alvaro Negredo.
'We really needed to win today, but it was not an easy game at all,' Sevilla midfielder Renato said.
There was a large element of fortune in Sevilla's goal, which came after nine minutes. Almeria defender Wilmer Acasiete tried to play a back-pass to goalkeeper Diego Alves, but the ball held up in a watery patch, allowing Renato to set up Negredo to score.
Sevilla should have added to their lead but were foiled by the agile Alves.
The other good news for Sevilla was the return to action of Brazil striker Luis Fabiano after a two-month injury lay-off.
Sevilla are now joint fourth with Mallorca - who are away to Espanyol on Sunday - both with 33 points from 19 games.
Sevilla and Mallorca are five points behind third-placed Valencia, who play Sunday at Tenerife.
Valencia are three points behind second-placed Real Madrid.
Saturday's late game will bring together Deportivo Coruna and Athletic Bilbao, placed sixth and seventh respectively.