Messi, Barcelona back with a bang

Barcelona recap
Photo by Rafa Babot/MB Media/Getty Images
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It was a big day for Catalonia, as Barcelona took its next step toward another La Liga title and Espanyol crept closer to safety.

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Barca opened up a five-point lead on Real Madrid with a win at Mallorca before the second-place side tangles with Eibar on Sunday.

Mallorca 0-4 Barcelona

Lionel Messi scored and assisted two others while Jordi Alba had a goal and an assist as Barcelona cruised past Mallorca at the Son Moix.

Barca moves onto 61 points, while Mallorca’s 25 remain a point back of safety.

It didn’t take long for Barca to get going, with Alba spotting Arturo Vidal for a second-minute opener.

Mallorca manufactured some shots, but Barcelona expanded its lead to 2-0 when Messi headed a loose ball to Martin Braithwaite before halftime.

The assists were Messi’s 17th and 18th, the goal his 25th in 32 matches across all competitions.

Celta Vigo 0-1 Villarreal

Longtime Villarreal midfielder Manu Trigueros scored a somewhat rare goal in second half stoppage to move Villarreal into eighth place, four points out of the top six.

Trigueros’ 24th career goal came in his 316th appearance for El Submarino Amarillo.

Celta remains just one point above the bottom three and three points clear of 20th place in a shocking season. The club’s been in La Liga since 2013 and finished top half in three-straight seasons between 2013-14 and 2015-16.

Espanyol 2-0 Alaves

Fernando Pacheco’s 19th-minute handball saw him sent off for the visitors, and Espanyol scored in first half stoppage and just after the break to get a huge three points.

Espanyol remains 20th with 23 points but is just three points from safety. They needed the win with a tough run of fixtures ahead to close out the season.

Alaves has 32 points, seven points clear of the bottom three with 10 matches to play.

Leganes 1-2 Real Valladolid

Goals from Enes Unal and Ruben Alcaraz early in each half moved Valladolid seven points from the bottom three.

Oscar Rodriguez struck late to give the hosts some hope, but it wasn’t met by another goal and Leganes remains 19th.