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Football: Atletico, Barca maintain title push with narrow wins

Barcelona remain just one point behind La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid as they overcame Real Betis 3-1 at the Camp Nou on Saturday. Atletico registered their sixth straight league win earlier in the day with a tense 1-0 victory over Villarreal. Lionel Messi put Barca in front from the penalty spot before Jordi Figueras' comical own goal doubled the hosts' advantage. Ruben Castro brought Betis back into the game moments later, but Messi killed the game off four minutes from time by slotting home the rebound after Antonio Adan had saved his second penalty of the day.

Football: Messi penalty edges Catalan derby, moves Barca top

Barcelona rounded off a fine week to move top of La Liga as they overcame stiff resistance from local rivals Espanyol to win 1-0 thanks to a penalty from Lionel Messi. The Argentine scored the only goal of the game 14 minutes from time at Cornella El Prat after Javi Lopez was adjudged to have handled inside the area. Espanyol were then reduced to 10 men when goalkeeper Kiko Casilla saw a straight red card for blocking Messi's goalbound effort with his hands outside the area.

Football: Messi hat-trick sees Barca past Real in seven-goal thriller

Barcelona moved to within a point of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga as they twice came from behind thanks to a Lionel Messi hat-trick to edge a thrilling El Clasico 4-3 at the Santiago Bernabeu. The sides went in level 2-2 at half-time as a record 19th goal against Madrid from Messi cancelled out Karim Benzema's double after Andres Iniesta had put Barca in front.

Football: Messi hat-trick sees Barca past Real in seven-goal thriller

Barcelona moved to within a point of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga as they twice came from behind thanks to a Lionel Messi hat-trick to edge a thrilling El Clasico 4-3 at the Santiago Bernabeu. The sides went in level 2-2 at half-time as a record 19th goal against Madrid from Messi cancelled out Karim Benzema's double after Andres Iniesta had put Barca in front.

Football: Ronaldo is 'a beast' but Real should fear Messi - Alba

Cristiano Ronaldo is "a beast" but Real Madrid should fear four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, Barcelona full-back Jordi Alba warned on Wednesday ahead of Sunday's crucial Clasico. "I think they are two of the best players in the world but out of the two of them I'll go with Leo," Alba said when asked which of the two players should be feared more during Sunday's game at the Santiago Bernabeu. "I don't just say that now because I am in the same team, I thought that when I was at Valencia," added Alba, who moved to Barcelona from the Mestalla in 2012.

Football: Bale focused on preserving lead as Clasico looms

Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale has warned against looking ahead to next weekend's Clasico clash with Barcelona before his side travel to face Malaga on Saturday. Los Blancos have opened up a four-point advantage on third-placed Barca at the top of La Liga with 11 games to go and could all but end the Catalans' hopes of retaining their title with victory at the Santiago Bernabeu on March 23.

Messi on target as Barcelona kill off City

By Tim Hanlon BARCELONA (Reuters) - Lionel Messi struck to end Manchester City's dreams of a famous comeback as Barcelona beat the English club 2-1 at the Nou Camp on Wednesday to reach the Champions League quarter-finals 4-1 on aggregate. Barca looked far from the classic team who lifted the trophy in 2009 and 2011 but a stuttering version under Gerardo Martino that had lost two of their last three games was still far too strong for the Premier League club.

Football: Barca and PSG ease into last eight

Four-time Champions League winners Barcelona and French champions Paris Saint Germain suffered few problems in reaching the quarter-finals of this season's competition on Wednesday. Barcelona -- who had come into their game on the back of some poor league form -- beat Manchester City, who had Pablo Zabaleta sent off, 2-1 for a 4-1 aggregate victory. While Barcelona's win saw them join domestic rivals Atletico Madrid in the last eight, City became the second English side in two nights to bow out, Arsenal having exited on Tuesday.

Football: Barcelona edge 10-man City to march into quarters

Second-half goals from Lionel Messi and Dani Alves booked Barcelona's place in the Champions League quarter-finals for a seventh consecutive year as they beat Manchester City 2-1 at the Camp Nou on Wednesday to progress 4-1 on aggregate. City were looking to become the first side to come back from losing the first leg 2-0 at home in the Champions League era and they had chances to reduce the deficit as Victor Valdes denied Samir Nasri and Edin Dzeko either side of half-time.

Football: Barcelona suffer shock defeat at Valladolid

Barcelona slumped to their third defeat in seven league games as they lost away to relegation-threatened Valladolid 1-0 on Saturday. Italian Fausto Rossi scored the only goal of the game as he slammed home from close range after 17 minutes. Valladolid goalkeeper Diego Marino was forced into four saves by Lionel Messi, but it was Neymar who had the best chance to level when he ballooned over just before the hour mark.
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