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Football

Five apiece for Real and Barca

Jose Mourinho's men hit five goals past Levante as Barcelona prove they have plenty of goal power without Lionel Messi.

Last Modified: 06 Apr 2013 22:19
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Cesc Fabregas (R) scored his first hat-trick for Barcelona as they thrashed Mallorca [GETTY]

Cesc Fabregas scored a hat trick to shine in place of the injured Lionel Messi as Barcelona thrashed Mallorca 5-0 in the Spanish league on Saturday.

Messi is trying to recover from a right hamstring injury for Paris Saint-Germain's visit on Wednesday with their Champions League quarter-final poised at 2-2.

But if he does not make it, Barcelona showed they have other scoring options in Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez, who netted a double and set up Fabregas' first two goals.

Eric Abidal went on in the 70th minute for his first game with Barcelona since a liver transplant last year.

Barcelona lead the league by 13 points and are four wins away from winning the title.

Cristiano Ronaldo went on as a substitute to seal Real Madrid's 5-1 win over Levante as they maintained their dominant form ahead of their Champions League quarter-final at Galatasaray.

Elsewhere, high-flying Real Sociedad romped to a 4-2 win over Malaga in San Sebastian, while Deportivo La Coruna provisionally escaped last place by beating visiting Real Zaragoza 3-2.

In Madrid, Levante's Miguel 'Michel' Alfonso launched and polished off a counterattack to put the visitors ahead in the 31st.

But Gonzalo Higuain's exquisite volley of Xabi Alonso's pass pulled Madrid level five minutes later, and Kaka grabbed the lead in the 39th with a spot kick after Christian Lell handled in the area.

Ronaldo went on at halftime after resting up for Tuesday's game at Galatasaray where his team will look to protect their 3-0 cushion to reach the semi-finals. Mesut Oezil and Angel Di Maria soon followed.

"The series isn't over. If we go with the ambition to score a goal, we will go through fine," said Ronaldo.

"The team was playing well but after the 1-0 anything could have happened. They responded well with two goals. Then I came on and contributed with a goal and an assist. We're all happy."

Real solid run

Sociedad's win over Malaga strengthened their hold on fourth place against a direct rival for Spain's last Champions League berth come next season.

Sociedad extended their league-best run to 20 straight games with only one loss, and increased the gap over Malaga to four points with eight games to go.

"We are satisfied, we showed fine finishing touch today," said Sociedad coach Philippe Montanier.

"We put in four goals, although it was a strange game. We didn't generate many scoring chances but we proved to be very efficient with the ones we had."

Carlos Vela opened for Sociedad with his 13th goal this season in the 21st minute. Left back Alberto de la Bella blasted in a long strike three minutes later, and Antoine Griezmann made it 3-0 in the 30th.

Pedro Morales scored for the visitors in the 43rd. Defender Inigo Martinez headed in Sociedad's fourth in the 51st, before Roque Santa Cruz struck for Malaga in the 70th.

Malaga visit Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday with their Champions League quarter-final poised at 0-0.

Deportivo's third straight victory left them just one point behind Zaragoza, who are clinging to safety after not winning a game so far in 2013.

522

Source:
AP
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