Barcelona followed up their impressive win over Real Madrid on the weekend with a convincing 3-0 home win over Deportivo La Coruna on Wednesday to go six points clear of Real at La Liga summit.
After scoring against Real, winger Pedro Rodriguez was on the scoresheet again with a fantastic second half strike from 45 yards out in the pick of the goals after Bojan Krkic had opened the scoring on the quarter hour mark. Yaya Toure netted the other goal in a comfortable night for the champions. It was a seventh successive league win for Barcelona who are six points clear with six games left although Real Madrid can close back to within three points with a win at Almeria tonight.
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola called for his team not to drop their standards following the dazzling display in the 2-0 'El Clasico' win over Real and the treble winners ran Depor ragged to warm up for Saturday's derby with Espanyol. There was again no sign of veteran French forward Thierry Henry, who played no part in 'El Clasico' win, in the Barcelona line-up with teenager Bojan starting while Ivorian midfielder Toure came in for Seydou Keita.
Pedro hit the post from close range in the ninth minute and it was a sign of things to come. On the quarter hour mark Xavi, who set up both goals in the Real win, slid a clever pass to Bojan who produced a cool finish to give the hosts the lead.
Goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia then produced a fine save from Jeffren Suarez who had collected a terrific pass from Lionel Messi. Dani Alves saw an acrobatic overhead kick come back off the crossbar as Barcelona could have been 4-0 up inside the first 20 minutes. Depor, with one point from the last 15, were packing the midfield allowing Alves a lot of space to roam into and the Brazilian was wreaking havoc with his crosses.
Barcelona were not as formidable in the second half but Pedro got the second goal the hosts craved on 68 minutes. Aranzubia came out to clear a long ball and his mis-kick fell to Pedro and the 22-year-old had no hesitation in going straight for goal and his 45 yard effort looped in. Four minutes later Barcelona struck again with Toure showing good control before dispatching a shot into the bottom corner.
Mallorca move fourth
UEFA Champions League hopefuls Real Mallorca moved a point above Sevilla into fourth with a 1-1 draw at Real Zaragoza on Wednesday although the islanders will see it as a missed opportunity to turn the screw on their rivals. Sevilla lost 2-1 at Valladolid on Tuesday but Mallorca, surprise challengers for the top four, could not punish the slip-up as their dismal away form continues to hinder their push for fourth.
"We had to get points to move above Sevilla and we managed to do that," said Mallorca coach Gregorio Manzano. "It is one game less and on Sunday we will defend fourth against Osasuna."
Defender Ruben Rocha put Mallorca into a 13th minute lead but Humberto Suazo equalised on 21 minutes. Mallorca have just two wins on their travels all season - the same as bottom side Xerez - compared to 13 victories from 15 games at home.
Malaga are one of those and twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at Osasuna on Wednesday as they hover three points above the drop zone. Malaga lie three points above Tenerife and four ahead of Valladolid who both won on Tuesday to close in.
Bottom side Xerez have clearly not waved the white flag in the relegation dog-fight stunning Atletico Madrid with a 2-1 win at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday. Emiliano Armenteros had a free header to bag the winner on 72 minutes for only their second away win of the season.
Xerez are now six points from safety with six games left while Atletico are eight points off the top six although they have a Kings Cup final and UEFA Europa League semi-final to look forward to.
Elsewhere Racing Santander took a giant stride towards safety with a 3-1 home victory over Espanyol to move six points clear of the relegation zone.