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Saturday, January 23, 2010
Barca make history with Valladolid victory

Barcelona crushed Real Valladolid 3-0 away to move eight points clear at the top of La Liga on Saturday, reaching the mid-point of the season unbeaten for the first time.

Xavi, Daniel Alves and Lionel Messi scored to round off a positive week for the champions, in which coach Pep Guardiola ended speculation over his future by agreeing to a one-year contract extension.

Xavi grabbed the first on 20 minutes after he volleyed home Dani Alves' cross. Then just two minutes later, Alves made it 2-0 as his cross floated over goalkeeper Justo Villar and into the net.

Lionel Messi then got on the scoresheet in the second half as he turned Zlatan Ibrahimovic's cross into the net. "It's no bad thing to finish the first half of the season unbeaten but it is little more than an anecdote. There are still many games to play," Guardiola told reporters.

Sevilla beat Almeria 1-0 in La Liga on Saturday with an Alvaro Negredo goal after some quick thinking on a waterlogged pitch at the Sanchez Pizjuan.

Heavy rain during the day made life difficult for both sides at first, with the ball regularly being held up in puddles, and forced an error from the visitors after 10 minutes.

Santiago Acasiete's backpass to his goalkeeper ran up short in the area and Renato nipped in and squared for Negredo to score in the empty net. But Sevilla had to endure a nervy 80 minutes before securing the points to end a run of four straight league defeats. They climbed to fifth with 33 points.

In the late game, Deportivo Coruna overcame Athletic Bilbao 3-1 at home to climb to fourth on 34 points, but the game was overshadowed by the serious injury suffered by Depor defender Filipe.

The Brazilian scored the first goal after 49 minutes but broke his right leg near the ankle as he collided with the visiting goalkeeper, and was rushed to hospital.

Juca and Pablo Alvarez made sure of the win, with Depor defender Diego Colotto scoring in his own net for Bilbao's goal.

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