Barça close gap on Real
Defending champions Barcelona upped the pressure on leaders Real Madrid today as they moved to within a point of their bitter rivals after a 4-0 thumping of Getafe.
Two goals from Alexis Sanchez, one from Pedro Rodriguez and Lionel Messi's 39th in the league this season gave Barça a tenth consecutive league victory after another near perfect performance by the Catalans.
Real can restore their four point advantage if they beat Atletico Madrid tomorrow - they have not lost to their city rivals since 1999.
The clash between Barça and Madrid on 21 April in the Camp Nou has become increasingly important as the Catalans have reduced the gap on Madrid from ten points to only one in less than a month.
Barcelona dominated Getafe throughout, controlling possession with their usual passing game and goalkeeper Victor Valdes summed up the situation on the final whistle. "Our work is done here, lets wait and see what Madrid do tomorrow night in their game," he said.
Andres Iniesta had the game's first chance when his shot was tipped over by Miguel Angel Moya in the Getafe goal on 12 minutes. A minute later and Barça were ahead. Iniesta started the move on the left for Messi to chest the ball into the path of the Chilean Sanchez who made no mistake from 20 yards out.
On 17 minutes the lead was almost doubled when Xavi had appeared to finish perfectly a neat passing move only for Argentinian centre-half Cata Diaz to scoop the ball clear on the goal-line.
Barça continued to dominate, but they did not add to their lead until just before half-time when Iniesta supplied Messi with a delightful back flick for the Argentinian to finish with a powerful shot.
On 72 minutes Alexis doubled his tally heading home an inch perfect right-wing cross from youngster Isaac Cuenca. Two minutes later and it was another header from Pedro who rounded off the scoring when he was quickest to meet a right-wing free-kick from Messi.
Barça turned on the style for the final minutes and Messi almost scored again from an impossible angle with two minutes remaining after a twisting run had taken him past three defenders.
Earlier on Tuesday, Raul Garcia scored two second-half goals to help Osasuna beat Espanyol 2-0 in a battle between two teams competing for places in next season's UEFA Europa League. For Osasuna the result was the perfect recovery from last weekend's 6-0 reversal at Rayo Vallecano, however they were helped by a card happy referee who booked players from start to finish.
Espanyol ended the game with nine men when Philippe Courtois and Juan Forlin were sent off in the second half for two bookable offences each. Osasuna stay sixth on 46 points while Espanyol, who have not won in five matches, remain four points behind in ninth position.
Real Betis and Real Sociedad shared a 1-1 draw to help both teams edge closer to survival. Carlos Vela put Sociedad ahead just after half-time before Ruben Castro equalised on 69 minutes for Betis. Earlier Imanol Agirretxe had a first-half penalty saved by Fabricio Agosto in the Betis goal.