Updated numbers for Barcelona’s current unbeaten run in La Liga: 29 games this season; 36 dating back to last season. The quest for the unbeaten league season is now just nine games from reality.
Perhaps even more impressive than the W-D-L record is their defensive record: 13 goals conceded in 29 games (they’ve also scored 74 and have a +61 goal differential).
Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Bilbao saw Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Co., go 11 points clear in the title race and all but secure their third title in four seasons, thanks to results elsewhere (see below).
Paco Alcacer opened the scoring after just eight minutes, and Messi made it 2-0 right on the half-hour mark (his league-leading 25th goal of the season; 34 in all competitions).
Cristiano Ronaldo bagged four goals of his own to bring his season total to 22 (32 in all competitions), now second ahead of Suarez and three behind Messi for the Golden Boot, and in the process push Real Madrid (60 points) to within four points of Atletico Madrid in the race for second.
Ronaldo scored goals no. 1, 2, 4 and 6 for Madrid, with tallies from Lucas Vazquez and Gareth Bale sprinkled in between.
Atletico Madrid were the last side within touching distance of Barca — “just” eight points back coming into the weekend — but that’s no longer the case following a late collapse and a 2-1 defeat away to fourth-place Valencia.
Antoine Griezmann put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot in the 20th minute, but Enes Unal bagged an equalizer in the 82nd and the game-winner in the 91st. Atleti finished the game with 10 men after Vitolo was sent off in the 92nd minute.
Real host Atleti in the Madrid derby on April 8, a game which will go a long way towards crowning this season’s runners-up.
Elsewhere in La Liga
Valencia 3-1 Alaves (Saturday)
Leganes 2-1 Sevilla
Real Betis 3-0 Espanyol (Saturday)
Celta Vigo 0-0 Malaga
Real Sociedad 1-2 Getafe (Saturday)
Levante 2-1 Eibar (Friday)
Deportivo La Coruña 1-1 Las Palmas (Saturday)
MADRID (AP) Real Madrid restored order after two straight losses with a comfortable 3-0 win over Las Palmas in the Spanish league on Sunday.
Goals by Casemiro in the first half, and Marco Asensio and Isco in the second, secured Madrid victory at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, keeping it eight points behind leader Barcelona after 11 games.
Barcelona defeated Sevilla 2-1 Saturday to maintain a four-point lead over second-place Valencia, which routed Leganes 3-0 for its seventh straight league win.
Madrid was under pressure after losses at Girona in La Liga and at Tottenham in the Champions League. The team endured a wave of criticism this week, and a convincing home win was needed to ease tensions for the defending champions.
“This win is important to help the team regain its confidence,” Madrid defender Sergio Ramos said. “Little by little we are getting back on the right track.”
Madrid was in control from the start, and Casemiro opened the scoring with a header following a corner just before halftime.
Asensio added to the lead with a booming, long-range shot into the top corner early in the second half, and Isco sealed the victory from inside the area after a well-placed low cross by Cristiano Ronaldo toward the end of the match.
Asensio and Isco are Madrid’s leading scorers in the league with four goals each. Ronaldo remains with only one league goal, although his tally with the club in all competitions is eight. He also scored four goals with Portugal.
Las Palmas is second-to-last in the standings with six points.
“We were playing well but that second goal put an end to our hopes,” Las Palmas striker Vitolo said.
Girona followed its stunning win over Real Madrid with a 2-1 victory at Levante, moving further away from the relegation zone.
It was the third straight league win for the Catalan club, which is playing in the first division for the first time this season.
Girona was coming off consecutive victories at Deportivo La Coruna and against Madrid at home in what had been a tense meeting at the height of a political crisis involving Catalonia and the Spanish government over the region’s push for independence.
“The team is showing maturity,” Girona coach Pablo Machin said. “We played a very complete match. We’ve been very consistent.”
Midfielder Borja Garcia put Girona ahead at the Ciutat de Valencia Stadium with a long-range shot into the top corner in the 58th, and former Levante striker Christian Stuani added to the lead from inside the area in the 83rd.
The lone goal for the hosts was scored with a header by Enes Unal in injury time.
Levante hasn’t won in six straight league games, but it had beaten Girona in the Round of 32 of the Copa del Rey last month.
“We need to improve and find a way to overcome this,” Levante coach Juan Ramon Lopez Muniz said. “We must lift our heads and move on.”
Girona moved to 10th place in the 20-team standings, while Levante dropped to 14th.
Pulisic, who turned 19 yesterday, has been a star for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga over the past 12 months and has nine goals and 14 assists in 61 appearances for the German side. He also has seven goals in 18 appearances for the USMNT.
Marcus Rashford, Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele are expected to challenge for the trophy but the Pennsylvania native being among the final nominees for the award proves how highly regarded he is on the global stage.
The 25 nominees for the 2017 Golden Boy award are in full below.
Aaron Martin, Espanyol
Jean-Kevin Augustin, RB Leipzig
Rodrigo Bentacur, Juventus
Steven Bergwijn, PSV Eindhoven
Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Everton
Federico Chiesa, Fiorentina
Ousmane Dembele, Barcelona
Amadou Diawara, Napoli
Kasper Dolberg, Ajax
Gianluigi Donnarumma, Milan
Gabriel Jesus, Manchester City
Joe Gomez, Liverpool
Benjamin Henrichs, Bayer Leverkusen
Borja Mayoral, Real Madrid
Kylian Mbappe, Paris Saint-Germain
Emre Mor, Celta Vigo
Reece Oxford, Borussia Monchengladbach
Christian Pulisic, Borussia Dortmund
Marcus Rashford, Manchester United Allan Saint-Maximim, Nice
Dominic Solanke, Liverpool
Theo Hernandez, Real Madrid
Youri Tielemans, Monaco Enes Unal, Villarreal Kyle Walker-Peters, Tottenham