Lionel Messi scored twice as Spanish league leaders Barcelona beat Sevilla 3-0 and moved six points clear of rivals Real Madrid, who lost to Getafe 3-1 and incurred more injury problems.
|Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o celebrates with Lionel Messi [AFP]
Samuel Eto'o found the top of goal in the 20th minute to open with his league-leading 14th goal.
Messi scored from a superb volley in the 78th before rounding goalkeeper Andres Palop to score from a short angle in injury time as Barcelona improved to 32 points from 13 rounds while stretching their unbeaten run to 19 games.
Getafe on a roll
Juan Angel Albin scored the first of his pair three minutes in and set up Ikechukwu Uche for the other as Getafe secured their fourth victory over their Spanish capital neighbour in nine meetings.
"It's not a defeat that hurts because you could see from the first moment that it was going to be difficult to win," Madrid's beleaguered coach Bernd Schuster said.
"Many things happened in the game, but in no moment did we feel like we were going to win.
"For that, the loss doesn't hurt."
Madrid, already without a handful of international players to injury, also saw Netherlands midfielder Wesley Sneijder and defenders Pepe and Miguel Torres leave the match with injury concerns.
The two-time defending champions have dropped two of their last three with a difficult stretch of games against the top-four awaiting, including Barcelona in two weeks.
|Real Madrid’s Bernd Schuster must be feeling the pressure[AFP]
"It's not something we can do anything about," the German coach said.
"We're on a bad streak and it's not normal, but that's football."
In a thrilling exchange of attacking football, Barcelona struck first after Eto'o nudged through two defenders to reach Messi's deflected pass and beat goalkeeper Andres Palop with a fierce shot taken with the outside of his right foot.
Palop was busy throughout with Thierry Henry testing the Spanish goalkeeper twice before Eto'o's 29th-minute curler was tipped wide.
Sevilla strikers Luis Fabiano and Frederic Kanoute threatened throughout, and Brazil striker Fabiano sliced out his third chance within 24 minutes.
Kanoute, who had an earlier penalty appeal refused, volleyed Adriano's cross wide in the 42nd.
Palop saved twice from Henry to start the second half before tipping a 59th-minute curling free kick from Daniel Alves, who played his former team for the first time since his offseason move to Barcelona.
The Catalan club was enjoying the better run and Palop got his hands up in the 68th to stop Messi from completing a darting run through the heart of Sevilla.
But Messi got through after controlling Xavi Hernandez's flicked-on ball with his own head to volley back across goal and beyond the flat-footed Palop.
Sevilla finished with 10 after Fabiano was red-carded in the 86th and Messi used the space to go clear in the second minute of injury time before chipping a left-footed shot into the open goal.
In a Spanish capital derby played at Coliseum Alfonso Perez, Jaime Gavilan moved past Sergio Ramos along the left side and centred into the box for Albin to head past goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
Then, with the streaking Roberto Soldado working as a decoy, the Uruguayan
midfielder finished off a quick counterattack in the 47th with a left-footed shot for his fifth goal of the season.
Guti reaches 500
|Real Madrid’s Marcelo Vieira da Silva Junior, left, can't believe his luck [AFP]
Jose Maria "Guti" Gutierrez, making his 500th appearance for Madrid, stole the ball from Cata Diaz to feed Javier Saviola in the 55th and the Argentine striker made up for an earlier miss with a quick shot with the outside of his right foot to beat Roberto Abbondanzieri at the near post.
Albin used his precise touch to go clear on goal and drew Madrid's defence before laying the ball off for substitute Uche, who slotted in under Casillas in the 82nd.
"There was no doubt that we were better," said Getafe coach Victor Munoz after his team snapped a two-game home losing streak.
Getafe were upset at having three penalty appeals waived away, notably Pepe's push from behind on Uche as the Nigeria striker streaked alone into the area in the 89th as Madrid looked to avoid allowing an embarrassing fourth.
"Getafe was superior," Schuster said.
"They played a spectacular game."
Madrid could find themselves dropping to fourth on Sunday should Villarreal beat last-placed Recreativo Huelva and Valencia win against surging Real Betis.
Villarreal have 25 points, while Valencia and Sevilla share 24.
In the rest of Sunday's 13th-round of games, it's: Atletico Madrid vs. Racing Santander; Valladolid vs. Mallorca; Malaga vs. Osasuna; Almeria vs. Deportivo La Coruna; Athletic Bilbao vs. Numancia; and Espanyol vs. Sporting Gijon.