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Messi powers Barcelona to 11 points lead atop

Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi scored in a ninth successive La Liga game as Barcelona won 3-1 at Malaga on Sunday to remain 11 points clear of Atletico Madrid and 18 in front of champions Real Madrid.

Messi got the opener before supplying Cesc Fabregas and Thiago Alcantara for the second and third goals.

Messi’s Argentine compatriot Diego Buonanotte scored from a free-kick in the final minutes for Malaga.

The goal was Messi’s 28th in the league this season from just 19 games and at the halfway stage Barcelona have only dropped two points in a draw against Real.

 Atletico Madrid made it 10 wins out of 10 at home this season with a 2-0 victory over Zaragoza.

 Portuguese midfielder Tiago Cardoso got a header and Radamel Falcao hit a penalty for the win that means Atletico stretch their lead over city rivals Real Madrid in third place to seven points.

 Atletico controlled the game from start to finish and their early pressure finally paid off on 31 minutes when Tiago powerfully headed home a Gabi corner at the near post to break the deadlock.

 The lead was doubled six minutes later when Falcao blasted home from the penalty spot after Arda Turan’s surging run was halted by Zaragoza’s Romanian full-back Cristian Sapanaru.

 That makes it 18 league goals for the season for the Colombian. Ten man Deportivo La Coruna, who had Evaldo dismissed with almost 30 minutes remaining, held on for an important 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad.
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