FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid both recorded easy home wins to keep the pressure on Real Madrid in the Spanish La Liga.
The three clubs began Saturday on 57 points, but with Real Madrid playing Sunday, Barcelona and Atletico wasted no time in assuring their rivals would need to win to keep themselves at the top of the table, reports Xinhua.
Lionel Messi and Cesc Fabregas were excellent in Barca’s win over struggling Rayo, with Messi breaking records as an added bonus and Neymar celebrating his return from injury with a goal.
Adriano opened the scoring with a diagonal shot in just the second minute of the game and it could have been 3-0 within 18 minutes as Messi and then Pedro Rodriguez’s shots struck the post.
Messi doubled Barca’s lead after 35 minutes following some good work from Cesc Fabrigas.
The goal was Messi’s 227th goal in the Spanish league and saw him draw level with the legendary Alfredo Di Stefano as the fourth highest scorer in the history of the competition.
The Argentine turned provider as Barca sealed the points in the opening minutes of the second half.
First, Messi set up Alexis Sanchez for his 15th goal of the campaign, before he and Fabregas set up Pedro for the fourth of the game.
Messi scored his second of the night after 68 minutes to take him above Di Stefano in the all—time list and to draw level with another Real Madrid legend Raul Gonzalez on 228 league goals.
Neymar then rounded off with a well taken goal in the 88th minute to make it 6-0 on the night.
Atletico Madrid got off to the perfect start to their game at home to Valladolid when Raul Garcia scored the opening goal of their 3—0 win after just three minutes.
Diego Costa and Diego Godin put the result well beyond any doubt.