Barcelona stay two points clear at the top of the table after a comprehensive 0-5 win at Tenerife. The Canary Islanders caused them some problems early on, Alfaro hitting the bar and then bringing two good saves out of Valdés. But ten minutes before half time Messi opened the scoring after a good run by Bojan, and before the break they scored two more, Puyol heading in Messi's free kick and Messi taking advantage of another Bojan assist to beat Aragoneses from close up. Henry hit the post soon after the restart, and Messi completed his hat-trick with the goal of the night before Luna put through his own net trying to clear from local boy Pedro.
Real Madrid keep in touch with the leaders though after a 2-0 victory over Mallorca in a snowy Bernabeu stadium earlier in the evening. Higuaín started things off early on after picking up a long ball from Xabi Alonso before curling an impressive shot past Aouate. Castro headed wide at the other end, but Cristian Ronaldo and Kaká both missed chances before substitute Granero got on the end of Higuaín's lofted cross to make it two soon after the restart. It could have been more had Aouate not kept out Kaká, Granero and Higuaín after that, but Madrid had already done enough to wrap up the three points.
Valencia consolidated third spot, staying six points behind Pellegrini's side after beating bottom club Xerez 1-3. Mata scored the first with only ten minutes on the clock after controlling a pass from Banega, and although Carlos Calvo equalised a few minutes later following Momo's assist, Silva restored the lead after Villa set him up with just over half an hour gone. And Marchena made sure of the win with a third goal midway through the second half, running through the defence before poking a shot past his ex team-mate Renan.
Deportivo took advantage of the defeats of Sevilla and Mallorca to move up in to the champions league spots after a 1-0 win over Osasuna. The Galicians have only scored twenty goals in their seventeen games though, and once again a single strike was enough to take the three points, Juan Rodríguez picking up Guardado's pass and beating Ricardo with a shot on the turn four minutes in to the second half. The visitors were left with ten men when Nekounam was sent off for a foul on Guardado, and the closest they came to scoring was when Filipe almost put through his own net late on.
Getafe's hopes of a place in Europe took a set-back when they lost 1-0 to Sporting Gijón. Diego Castro got the only goal shortly before the interval, controlling Camacho's pass before beating Codina. Michel's side were unlucky not to save a point after the break though, Mario heading against the post and Juan Pablo having to be at his best to keep out a couple of effort from Casquero late on.
Athletic Bilbao moved up level with Getafe after a 1-1 draw at Málaga. Mtiglia and Toquero both hit the post in the first half, but the locals went ahead when Weligton headed a Duda free kick past Iraizoz two minutes after the restart. Llorente equalised though from the penalty spot after he was fouled by Iván González a few minutes later. Málaga stay in the drop zone despite going without defeat for eight games, seven of which have been draws.
Zaragoza also remain in the drop zone after losing 2-1 at Espanyol. A bad clearance from Carrizo allowed Verdú to score in to an empty net with just under a quarter of an hour gone, but the visitors equalised before the break when Moisés Hurtado could only head Lafita's free kick in to his own net under pressure from Arizmendi. Substitute Fernando Marqués got the winner though midway through the second half after Carrizo could only beat out a long shot from Callejón. (10.01.10)
Sevilla's excesses in the midweek cup-tie against Barcelona took their toll at the weekend, the Andalusians losing 1-2 at home to Racing Santander on Saturday evening. 18 year-old midfielder Canales did the damage in the first half, running on to a Munitis pass to lob Palop, and then dribbling round the keeper to score his second of the evening a few minutes later. Romaric got one back after the break following a Dragutinovic free kick, but after that Coltorti produced a string of saves to ensure a fourth win in five games for his side.
Atlético Madrid are virtually out of the cup after their heavy first leg defeat in Huelva, but after some harsh words from coach Quique Sánchez Flores they bounced back to beat Valladolid 0-4. Jurado latched on to a Reyes pass to start things off, and Forlán ran on to a long ball from Raúl García to make it two before the break. Reyes thrashed home a third on the hour mark, and Agüero came on to score the fourth right at the end.
Villarreal were unable to make it six straight home wins in a row after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Almería later in the evening. Nilmar headed them in to the lead from Cazorla's cross five minutes before the interval. But Iván Marcano gave away a penalty on substitute Goitom which Corona converted midway through the second half, and Villarreal's challenge ended when Marcano was sent off fora second bookable offence with seven minutes to go. (09.01.10)