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Saturday, January 29, 2011
Messi keeps Barca clear

Lionel Messi scored two late goals as Barcelona beat 10-man Hercules 3-0 to preserve their 100% away record in La Liga and move seven points clear of Real Madrid at the top of the table.

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Pedro gave Barca the lead two minutes before the interval, but the win was still in doubt until Messi's late intervention, with the Argentina forward bagging two goals - after Javier Farinos had been sent off - in the last thre minutes to give the Catalans a comfortable victory in the end.

The win erased memories of Barca's surprise home defeat at the hands of the promoted side earlier on in the campaign and leaves them clear of Madrid, who visit Osasuna on Sunday.

Goals from Jon Ansotegui and Raul Tamudo earned Real Sociedad the spoils against lowly Almeria in tough conditions at a rain-drenched Anoeta.

Ansotegui opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time and then, with growing pools of water on the pitch making life difficult for both teams, Tamudo sealed the win with Sociedad's second 12 minutes from full-time.

Levante climbed off the foot of the Primera Division standings after ending a run of five successive league defeats with a 2-0 victory over Getafe.

Two goals at the start of the second half set Levante on their way to only a fifth league win of the campaign thanks to second half goals from Valmiro Valdo and Felipe Caicedo. Both teams ended the match with ten men, Getafe's Manu del Moral and Xisco Nadal of Levante handed their marching orders.

Sporting Gijon secured their first Primera Division away win of the season in emphatic fashion as they thrashed Real Mallorca 4-0 at the Iberostar Stadium to continue their recent revival.

The northerners got off to the perfect start as they went ahead through Diego Castro after just three minutes. Roberto Canella made it 2-0 when his shot deflected off Mallorca defender Kevin Garcia and wrong-footed Aouate.

Seven minutes later it was all over as a contest as substitute Andre Castro - who had just come on - raced clear to make it 3-0.Nacho Novo did make it four with four minutes left with a clinical finish to leave Sporting four points clear of the drop zone after 21 games.

A late strike from Florent Sinama-Pongolle saw Zaragoza complete a memorable comeback to win 2-1 at Malaga to secure their third straight Primera Division win and continue their recent revival under Mexican coach Javier Aguirre.

Aguirre took over from previous coach Jose Aurelio Gay in November, but has taken some time to make his mark at the Aragonese club.

Aguirre had said in the build-up to this game that his side were now prepared to win away from La Romareda, but the omens did not look good as Duda gave Malaga the lead after 15 minutes.

Zaragoza hit back five minutes before the interval, when Nicolas Bertolo headed home at the far post.

Bertolo featured heavily as Zaragoza dominated in the second half, but it was Sinama-Pongolle - who missed a great chance with seven minutes left - who secured all three points for the visitors.

Laure's late equaliser secured a dramatic point for Deportivo La Coruna after 10-man Sevilla had battled from two goals down to lead 3-2 at the Riazor. The game ended in a 3-3 draw.

Lassad Nouioui's superb strike lit up an otherwise dull first half and his second goal, soon after the 58th-minute dismissal of Sevilla goalkeeper Andres Palop, looked to have put the hosts on course to end their three-game losing run.

However, that sparked the visitors into life and two goals from Alvaro Negredo and one from Julien Escude turned the game on its head in a stunning second half.

And there was still time for Laure to have the final word, shooting across substitute keeper Javi Varas to salvage a point for Depor despite offside protestations from the visitors.




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