|Big wins for Barca, Atletico in La Liga| MADRID, April 26 (IANS): Leaders FC Barcelona took a huge step towards the conquest of the La Liga title, thanks to a 2-0 win away to local rivals Espanyol.
Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (R) tries to dodge past Espanyol’s midfielder Salva Sevilla during the Spanish league match at the Cornella-El Prat stadium in Cornella de Llobregat on Saturday.
Barcelona produced an excellent first 45 minutes football and took a 2-0 lead before the break thanks to excellent goals from strikers Neymar and Lionel Messi, who both finished off flowing team moves, reports Xinhua.
Things changed 10 minutes after the break when defender Jordi Alba was sent off by referee Mateu Lahoz and Espanyol tried to take the game to their rivals. However, they failed to create more than one chance to pressure goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and Barcelona’s win never really looked in peril.
Reigining champions Atletico Madrid tightened their grip on the third place as striker Antoine Griezmann netted his third brace in three weeks to give them a routine 3-0 win at home to Elche.
The visitors had travelled to Madrid with only 14 fit professionals but held on for 54 minutes before Griezmann opened the scoring and after Raul Garcia scored Atletico’s second 10 minutes later the result was never in doubt.
Finally Levante took a vital three points in their battle against relegation as they won 1-0 away to Getafe thanks to a goal from midfielder Victor Casadesus.
Athletic Club Bilbao won 1-0 in Cordoba On Friday to virtually assure the home side to relegation which giving themselves a good chance of finishing in the seventh place.