La Liga: Messi maintains Barca’s unbeaten start, 4-point lead

BILBAO, SPAIN - OCTOBER 28: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring goal during the La Liga match between Athletic Club Bilbao and FC Barcelona at San Mames Stadium on October 28, 2017 in Bilbao, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
0 Comments

A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ PL ROUNDUP: Man City’s historic start; Man United, Arsenal win ]

Athletic Bilbao 0-2 Barcelona

Barcelona’s quest for an unbeaten La Liga season continued in earnest on Saturday, as Lionel Messi scored his league-leading 12th goal of the still-young season to help secure all three points from a difficult test away to Athletic Bilbao. The victory keeps Barca four points clear of second-place Valencia and eight points ahead of third-place Real Madrid, who play on Sunday.

Saturday’s hosts had ample opportunity of their own to open the scoring, but missed a pair of key chances before Messi swept home a Jordi Alba cross in the 36th minute.

Paulinho put the game out of reach in the 91st minute, slotting home an empty-net rebound for his third league goal of the season.

Alaves 1-2 Valencia

Valencia maintained their best-ever start to a league season with a 2-1 win away to 19th-place Alaves. Simone Zaza bagged his ninth goal of the season (second-most behind Messi) in the 34th minute, before Alaves pulled level through Alexis Ruano in the 49th minute. Rodrigo Moreno converted from the penalty spot not long after the hour mark for Valencia’s seventh victory (to go with three draws) of the season.

Atletico Madrid 1-1 Villarreal

Atletico Madrid’s title bid is, for all intents and purposes, finished. After dropping two points to Villarreal, Diego Simeone’s side now trails Barca by eight. Angel Correa put Los Rojiblancos ahead on the hour mark, but Carlos Bacca grabbed the equalizer in the 81st minute as Villarreal moved to within three points of Atleti for the fourth and final UEFA Champions League place.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Sevilla 2-1 Leganes

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Getafe vs. Real Sociedad — 7 a.m. ET
Girona vs. Real Madrid — 11:15 a.m. ET
Eibar vs. Levante — 1:30 p.m. ET
Malaga vs. Celta Vigo — 3:45 p.m. ET