Iniesta, Benat shine in Spanish La Liga

Madrid: Andres Iniesta and Benat Etxebarria demonstrated splendid performances in Spanish La Liga.

Iniesta produced a majestic display of football to set up three goals and score another as Barcelona won 4-0 away to Levante Sunday.

The midfielder produced his magic in 18 minutes at the start of the second half in a game that had been 0-0 at the break and promised to be very complicated for the league leaders before he set up Leo Messi for two goals, fired home from the edge of the area and rounded off his night with a defence splitting pass for Cesc Fabrigas to add a fourth.

The win took Barca 11 points clear of Real Madrid, who lost 0-1 away to Betis Saturday night thanks to Benat`s 17th minute shot from the edge of the area.

Real Madrid were below par on the night as they slipped to their third defeat of the season after failing to break down a determined Betis, who recovered their pride following last week`s 1-5 humiliation against local rivals Sevilla.

Atletico Madrid, however, showed no sign of slackening the pace as they brushed past Sevilla in the Vicente Calderon stadium.

The game was decided in the first half when Federico Fazio was sent off after committing a penalty which Radamel Falcao scored. Emir Spahic scored an own goal with five minutes remaining in the half and Koke made it 3-0 before the break.

Joao Miranda added a fourth in the closing minute to take Atletico eight clear of Real Madrid ahead of next Saturday`s visit to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

Sunday kicked off with Espanyol crashing to another home defeat with a shambolic display against Getafe, who could have won by a greater margin than the 2-0 final result.

Pedro Leon opened the scoring after 15 minutes and the fact the result was in doubt until Mane added a second in the last minute was down to Getafe`s poor finishing rather than anything decent from Espanyol, whose coach Mauricio Pochettino is in clear danger of losing his job.

Athletic Bilbao can count themselves unlucky to only draw 1-1 at home to Deportivo la Coruna.

Saturday also saw Malaga thrash Valencia 4-0 in the Rosaleda Stadium with a totally dominant performance. The match between two sides who have reached the last 16 of the Champions League was expected to produce a tight game but Valencia`s away form again let them down.

Trailing to a first half goal from Francisco Portillo, Valencia failed to react after the break and received further goals from Javier Saviola, Roque Santa Cruz and former Valencia player, Izco ended a difficult night for the visitors, while ending a run of just one point from three games.

Saturday kicked off with Rayo Vallecano continuing their impressive home form at the expense of Mallorca.

The game looked to be heading for a 0-0 draw before Leo Baptistao scored a fine solo goal with four minutes left and he then produced a run into the Mallorca penalty area to set up Andrija Delibasic for a simple finish in the last minute of the game to leave Mallorca with one point from eight matches.

Granada are also in trouble after Manucho`s 63rd minute goal condemned them to a 0-1 defeat away to Valladolid, who move into the top half of the table.

The round of matches began Friday with a 0-0 draw between Real Sociedad and Osasuna.


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