La Liga Results: Lionel Messi Double Helps Barcelona Top Rayo Vallecano; Ronaldo Sparks Real Madrid Comeback Against Mallorca

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Mar 18, 2013 01:18 AM EDT
Lionel Messi Barcelona
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi celebrates his second goal against Rayo Vallecano in their La Liga game, March 17"


Lionel Messi continued his irrepressible form for Barcelona, scoring in his 18th straight La Liga game, as the Spanish League leaders defeated Rayo Vallecano 3-1.

Barca, with the victory, restored their lead at the top to 13 points, with Messi scoring two of the three goals, while David Villa netted the other.

Real Madrid had earlier closed the gap on their biggest rivals to ten points, with a 5-2 win over Mallorca. Cristiano Ronaldo, of course got on the scoresheet, as Real came back from 2-1 down to post the victory.

Atletico Madrid are a point behind Real, after a brace from Douglas Costa helped the capital club to a 2-0 win over Osasuna.

At the Camp Nou, it was the Messi and Villa show, as the little Argentine first setup the Spaniard for the opening strike.

Villa returned the favor, not once but twice, playing through Messi, who wore the captain's armband for the first time after Andres Iniesta was substituted, on goal for the best player in the world to complete another double and take his tally for the season in the league to 42 goals, 15 ahead of Ronaldo who has 27.

"Life is a lot easier when you have Leo Messi," Barca assistant manager Jordi Roura said. "You have to enjoy it on a daily basis when you have the best player in the world on your team."

Villa, slowly but surely getting back to his best, was happy to see his performance receive the plaudits it deserved. "I like to be able to help the team with my goals," he told the club's official website. "I want to keep on scoring and giving the most of myself

"I'm happy that I was able to help Messi score, we understand each other well."

At the Bernabeu, Real survived a small scare, before coming back with a vengeance to post a 5-2 win.

Third from bottom Mallorca, twice took the lead, before Real came roaring back with a three-goal burst early in the second half. Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric, a screamer, and Gonzalo Higuain, who also scored the first for his side, made it 4-2, before substitute Karim Benzema added the gloss late on.

"Mallorca came here playing well," Higuain told the club's official website. "They went ahead twice, but the team showed the fighting spirit and style it has. In La Liga we are going to try and keep fighting to the very end."

Results: Valencia 3-0 Real Betis; Deportivo 3-1 Celta Vigo; Real Sociedad 4-1 Real Valladolid; Real Madrid 5-2 Real Mallorca; Getafe 1-0 Athletic Bilbao; Granada 1-1 Levante; Malaga 0-2 Espanyol; Sevilla 4-0 Real Zaragoza; Osasuna 0-2 Atletico Madrid; Barcelona 3-1 Rayo Vallecano.

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