Barcelona moved up into third, now just 7 points behind joint leaders Real Madrid and Valencia, after an impressive 3-0 win over Málaga last night in the Camp Nou. The home side simply outclassed their opponents with a dazzling first half display. Indeed, Barça were 3-0 up after just 35 minutes with goals from Saviola, Luis García and Philip Cocu. The second half was little more than a training exercise for Barcelona, with Ronaldinho, who had another excellent game, pulling most of the strings from midfield. After a poor start to the season, Frank Rijkaard´s talented side are beginning to look the pick of this season´s title challengers.
In a hard fought, sometimes bad-tempered game, Valencia were fortunate to salvage a point at home to Real Sociedad yesterday evening, after going two goals behind. Valencia´s equaliser, scored by Mista, finally came well into extra time. Real´s first goal, scored by Xabi Alonso, did not come until the 65th minute, but five minutes later, they had doubled their lead with a penalty converted by Valery Karpin. Spanish international, Vicente, pulled one back a couple of minutes later continuing his current run of good form.
Elsewhere, John Toshack´s Real Murcia are definitely relegated following their 0-1 defeat to Real Betis, and Julio Baptiste bagged four goals for Sevilla who thrashed Racing Santander 5-2. Sevilla remain ninth with little real chance of European football next season.