La Liga - Barca move six points clear

Eurosport - Wed, 14 Apr 22:51:00 2010

Barcelona moved six points clear at the top of La Liga with a 3-0 win over Deportivo la Coruna at the Camp Nou.

2009-10 La Liga Barcelona Pedro - 0

Bojan Krkic opened the scoring with a cool finish early on, though Pep Guardiola's side had to wait until midway through the second half before Pedro doubled the lead with a long range effort that looped over a stranded Daniel Aranzubia.

Substitute Yaya Toure rounded things off with a fierce volley that squirmed between the keeper and a defender on the post from Xavi's corner.

The result means Real Madrid need to win at Almeria on Thursday night to move back to within three points of their big rivals, while Deportivo remain ninth, with their prospects of European football next season looking ever more unlikely.

Barcelona found their rhythm early, and set about opening up their opponents with their mesmerising passing game.

Pedro was first to bring the home fans out of their seats, slamming a close range shot against the bar after a neat knock-down from Gerard Pique.

Bojan went one better after 15 minutes, rounding off a sweeping team move to put Barca 1-0 up. Jeffren picked the ball up in central midfield and laid it onto Xavi, and the playmaker turned on a sixpence before laying on a measured through ball for Bojan, who tucked a clinical finish past Aranzubia.

Only a magnificent save from Aranzubia prevented Barcelona from doubling their lead almost instantly, as Jeffren latched onto Lionel Messi's defence-splitting pass, only to be foiled by the heroics of the 'keeper.

Though Barcelona's tempo dropped in the 15 minutes either side of half-time, they remained well in control of affairs, and a superb long-range effort from Pedro put the result beyond doubt with just over 20 minutes remaining.

Aranzubia came racing from his goal to clear a long throw from his opposite number Victor Valdes, only to scuff his clearance, which landed straight at the feet of Pedro. The forward wasted no time and launched a first-time shot that flew high over the head of the stranded keeper and into the back of the net from all of 50 yards.

Three minutes later, Barca had their third as substitute Yaya Toure volleyed home at the far post from Xavi's corner.

Thierry Henry, also on as a substitute, should have made it four, though fired straight at Aranzubia from Pedro's inviting cross, while a tame Guardado effort that Victor Valdes dealt with comfortably was all Deportivo could muster in the way of chances.

Xerez kept alive their slim hopes of avoiding relegation as they beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 at the Vicente Calderon.

Mario Bermejo gave the visitors the lead with their first attempt on goal of the evening, running onto Jose Manuel Casado's cross to send a looping header over 'keeper David De Gea and in at the far post.

Atletico reacted well, as Sergio Aguero stung the hands of Renan with a sweetly-struck shot, before Forlan grabbed an equaliser moments later. The Uruguayan dropped to the edge of the area to receive Juan Valera's pull-back, and unleashed a fierce, swerving drive that left Renan with no chance.

The colchoneros struggled to impose their authority on the league's bottom side, however, and it was Xerez who created the majority of the chances in the second half. It came as no surprise when they finally grabbed the winner as Emiliano Armenteros wriggled free of Luis Perea in the area to head home Fabian Orellana's fine cross.

Xerez remain bottom of the table, though now lie six points adrift of safety, while Atletico remain 10th.

Michael FitzGerald / Eurosport

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