Ballon D'Or winner Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona defeated La Coruna 3-1 on Saturday, resulting in a healthy five point lead over Real in La Ligua. In Italy, Juventus edged out Inter in the Serie A race.
REUTERS - Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were vying for top billing in La Liga on Saturday after leading their sides to victories.
Argentina's Messi, who beat Ronaldo in the voting to lift the Ballon d'Or during the week, scored twice for leaders Barcelona in a 3-1 victory at Deportivo Coruna.
Portugal's Ronaldo won and missed a penalty, scored a goal and was then sent off as Real Madrid came back to beat visiting Almeria 4-2.
The champions are top with 36 points from 14 games, five ahead of second-placed Real who have played a game less.
Messi gave Barca a deserved lead at the Riazor scoring from the edge of the area after 27 minutes.
But Depor levelled when a punt from the goalkeeper was inadvertently flicked on by Sergio Busquets and Adrian headed past Victor Valdes before halftime.
Substitute Pedro crossed for an unopposed Messi to head Barca back in front after a well-worked move in the 80th and in-form Zlatan Ibrahimovic rounded off the scoring at the end.
The Swedish striker netted his 10th of the campaign, and third in three matches this week.
Real looked to be cruising at the Bernabeu when Sergio Ramos headed them in front after 31 minutes but the visitors netted twice in four minutes midway through the second half.
Gonzalo Higuain levelled for Real in the 74th before Ronaldo flung himself over Almeria goalkeeper Diego Alves to win a disputed penalty in the 81st.
Alves saved the spot kick but Karim Benzema converted the rebound and Ronaldo made it 4-2 two minutes later, picking up a yellow card as he celebrated by taking his shirt off.
In the last minute, Ronaldo kicked Almeria's Juanma Ortiz after a tussle for the ball, earning his second yellow card and was dismissed.
Claudio Marchisio blew open the Serie A title race when his superb goal gave 10-man Juventus a 2-1 win over leaders Inter Milan in an enthralling game on Saturday.
Inter's lead has been cut to four points after second-placed AC Milan outclassed Sampdoria 3-0 at the San Siro while third-placed Juve are a point further back after 15 matches.
Italy midfielder Marchisio danced past Walter Samuel and dinked the ball over Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar just before the hour mark to inflict Inter's second league defeat this term.
Champions Inter, aiming for a fifth straight scudetto come May, were largely on top when Marchisio struck having equalised after 26 minutes when a completely unmarked Samuel Eto'o nodded in Dejan Stankovic's cross after a quick free kick.
The Cameroon striker has failed to really shine since his July swap move from Barcelona involving Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but he was busy throughout at Turin's Stadio Olimpico.
Juve had taken the lead after 20 minutes when Diego's free kick was headed on by Giorgio Chiellini, wearing a mask because of a broken nose, and the ball deflected in off Inter's Lucio.
Inter coach Jose Mourinho sarcastically applauded the referee after the goal for awarding the free kick and was immediately ordered to the stands.
The match was suitably tough-tackling and the atmosphere electric for one of Serie A's biggest rivalries but fears Juve fans would again consistently racially abuse Inter's black striker Mario Balotelli failed to materialise.
Juve were forced to play a game behind closed doors last term after supporters sang racist chants towards Balotelli and the authorities had said the game would be suspended if there was more racial abuse on Saturday.
Balotelli was only whistled when he came on after an hour and again was booed after two theatrical falls, one of which led to Felipe Melo's dismissal late on for a second booking following a brawl.
Date created : 2009-12-06