Madrid maintain chase, Barça fight back

Real Madrid shrugged off the loss of the injured Gareth Bale as they beat Valencia 3-2 on Sunday to move back to within five points of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga.

Barcelona were also victors as an eight-minute hat-trick from Pedro Rodriguez helped them come from 2-0 down to win 5-2 away at Getafe.

Bale's replacement Angel di Maria put Madrid in front with a fine left-footed drive on 28 minutes, but Pablo Piatti headed home an equaliser for the hosts six minutes later.

Cristiano Ronaldo then headed home Di Maria's free-kick to put Madrid back in front five minutes before half-time, only for Valencia to level once more when Jeremy Mathieu met Dani Parejo's corner.

However, Madrid were not to be denied as substitute Jese Rodriguez grabbed the winner with a low drive that beat Vicente Guaita at his near post ten minutes from time to condemn Nico Estevez to defeat in his first league game in temporary charge of Valencia.

Barcelona were also made to work for their victory as goals from Sergio Escudero and Lisandro Lopez had given Getafe a 2-0 lead inside 14 minutes. However, the Catalans responded like champions as Pedro scored three times in quick succession before the break.

Cesc Fabregas then gave Barça breathing space when he volleyed home Pedro's cross and the former Arsenal captain doubled his tally from the penalty spot moments later.

The Barça revival began ten minutes before half-time when Fabregas released Pedro in behind the defence and his chipped finish had just enough elevation to take it past Miguel Angel Moya.

Pedro then curled home into the top corner from the edge of the area and pounced on a defensive error by Juan Valera to give his side the lead at half-time.

Fabregas made the game safe 22 minutes from time when he finished off a wonderful team move involving Pedro and Sergio Busquets.

Pedro was also involved in Barca's fifth as was clipped inside the area by Borja Fernandez and Fabregas sent Moya the wrong way from the resultant spot-kick.

Elsewhere, Celta Vigo and Osasuna battled to a 1-1 draw and Athletic Bilbao beat Rayo Vallecano 2-1. Earlier on Sunday, Christian Stuani hit a brace for Espanyol en route to a 4-2 win over Real Valladolid