La Liga: Messi hits trips for Barca at Tenerife; Higuain howitzer helps Real see off Mallorca; Valencia beat Xerez; Depor & Gijon pick up wins; Doomed Zaragoza lose at Espanyol

Tenerife 0 – Barcelona 5 (La Liga, January 11, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) A brilliant run from Barca forgotten man Bojan Krkic down the Tenerife left hand side lead to the Catalans opener 10 minutes before the break, Leo Messi crashing home from inside the hosts box. Barca then punished the islanders for giving then the lead, Carlos Puyol bagged a second before Leo Messi closed out the half with a third. A picture-perfect lob from Leo Messi 15 minutes from time completed a wonderful hat-trick for the world player of the year as Barca romped to victory. A late own goal from Pedro Rodriguez was the icing on the cake for Guardiola’s men.

Real Madrid 2 – Mallorca 0 (La Liga, January 11, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) A fantastic strike from Real Madrid forward Gonzalo Higuain against Mallorca, an arrowed bullet into the top corner, gave Los Blancos a 7th minute lead. Real doubled their lead at the start of the second half when Esteban Granero volley a beauty at the back stick from Higuain’s dinked cross.

Xerez 1 – Valencia 3 (La Liga, January 11, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) An 11th minute strike from Juan Mata put Valencia ahead at lowly Xerez. The bottom league club hit back in the 25th minute when a sweeping counter-attack was finished by Carlos Calvo. But Valencia moved back in front before the interval when an attack down the left saw David Villa race into the box and tee up David Silva who slapped the ball into the top corner. Carlos Marchena claimed a brilliant third for Valencia 20 minutes from time, the midfield enforcer won possession inside the Xerez half, advanced, and punted the ball into the net.

Deportivo La Coruna 1 – Osasuna 0 (La Liga, January 11, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) A brilliant piece of control from Depor striker Juan Rodriguez in the Osasuna box, collected the ball, turning, and hitting a low shot on the swivel, fired the hosts into a 49th minute lead.

Espanyol 2 – Zaragoza 1 (La Liga, January 11, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) New Zaragoza coach Jose Aurelio Gay once again failed to change the club’s fortunes as his side crashed to a 2-1 loss at Espanyol and stay second from bottom. Gay has yet to win any of his three league matches in charge while Zaragoza have not won away from home this season.

Malaga 1 – Athletic Bilbao 1 (La Liga, January 11, 2009) Malaga remained third from bottom after a 1-1 home draw with Bilbao. Brazilian centre-back Weligton put Malaga ahead two minutes after the break but Fernando Llorente equalised from the penalty spot 11 minutes from time.

Sporting Gijon 1 – Getafe 0 (La Liga, January 11, 2009) Sporting Gijon ended a dismal recent run with a narrow defeat of Getafe. Diego Castro put Sporting Gijon in front after 39 minutes and the strike proved to be the winner. Getafe’s Daniel Cata Diaz hit the post with a header after 57 minutes but it was the closest the visitors came as they suffered just a second loss in their last seven league games.