Barca, Real both win in Spanish La Liga

MADRID - FC Barcelona striker Leo Messi scored a second half hat-trick to give his side a 3-0 win at home to Valencia.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Valencia's goalkeeper Cesar (R) blocks the ball against Barcelona's Lionel Messi during their Spanish first division soccer match at Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona March 14, 2010.

The Argentinean opened the scoring for his side with a magnificent solo goal, after a run took him past half of the Valencia defense allowing him to beat keeper cesar Sanchez with a low shot on 55 minutes.

Valencia had defender Maduro sent off just before the hour and Messi wound up the game with two more exceptional goals in the last 10 minutes.

His third of the night saw him produce a brilliant first touch, before chipping the ball home with his supposedly weaker right foot.

That win took Barcelona temporarily back to the top of the La Liga. But their joy lasted just two hours as Real Madrid secured a comfortable win away to Valladolid.

Cristiano Ronaldo opened the score with a deflected free kick, before Gonzalo Higuain added a goal on either side of half time.

Valladolid should have had a penalty following a clear handball by Sergio Ramos, but pulled a goal back after the hour when Raul Albiol had the misfortune to deflect a rebound into his own net.

Higuain finished off his hat-trick after 65 minutes with a close range knock at the far post following a Cristiano Ronaldo shot

Sunday's remaining games threw up some interesting results. Tenerife finally got back to winning ways with a 4-1 win at home to Espanyol.

Nino scored twice in a result that leaves Jose Luis Oltra's side with a chance of avoiding relegation.

That chance looks to have escaped Xerez after a 2-0 defeat in Villarreal.

Joseba Llorente scored for Villarreal after 32 minutes, although he looked to have been offside.

The home side then wasted several chances before Escudero added the second in the last minute. Xerez remains rock bottom with just 15 points all season.

Almeria is now unbeaten in seven games following a 1-0 win against Malaga. Soriano scored the only goal of the game 10 minutes into the second half.

Meanwhile Racing Santander and Zaragoza played out a tedious 0-0 draw in the El Sardinero Stadium.

Saturday saw Sevilla remain in fourth place after a 1-1 draw against Deportivo la Coruna.

Fazio, for the home side, and Adrian scored goals within four minutes of each other midway through the first half and from that moment, Sevilla was unable to break down a well organized Deportivo defense.

Mallorca wasted a chance to move ahead of Sevilla, losing 3-0 away to Getafe. Dani Parejo, Miku and Manu del Moral scored for Getafe.

Athletic Bilbao missed a penalty for the fourth time this season in the 0-0 draw away to Sporting Gijon. A win would have lifted Athletic into within one point of a place in the top four.

Atletico Madrid entertain Osasuna on Monday.