Messi, Barcelona dominate Atletico

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Updated: December 17, 2012

Lionel Messi added to his historic year by scoring twice in Barcelona’s 4-1 defeat of Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou on Sunday.

The Argentine came into the weekend with 88 goals in the calendar year, but he extended that total to 90 goals with a brace that helped the Catalans seal the win and improve to 46 points on the season, nine points clear of second-place Atletico.

The visitors had taken the lead in the 31st minute through Falcao, who bagged his 18th goal of the La Liga season.

But the advantage had evaporated by halftime as Adriano and Sergio Busquets overturned Barcelona’s deficit with goals in the 36th and 44th minute, respectively.

The second half belonged to Messi as the Argentine scored in the 56th and 88th minutes to bring his league tally to an astounding 25 goals in 15 games.

Real Madrid 2, Espanyol 2

Madrid, Spain – Real Madrid dropped two points in disappointing fashion on Sunday, surrendering a late goal in a 2-2 draw with Espanyol at the Bernabeu.

Sergio Garcia put Espanyol in front, but Cristiano Ronaldo brought Madrid level before the break.

Fabio Coentrao handed the home side the lead less than three minutes into the second half, but it was Juan Albin’s goal two minutes from full time that spoiled Madrid’s hopes of a victory.

Real Madrid improves to 33 points while Espanyol, which has drawn three in a row, moves to within a point of safety with 12 points on the year.

Rayo Vallecano 1, Valencia 0

Valencia, Spain – Rayo Vallecano stole all three points at the Mestalla on Sunday, claiming a late goal in a 1-0 win over Valencia.

The two sides looked to be heading for a scoreless draw, but Alejandro Dominguez converted a penalty kick in the 83rd minute to see Rayo snap a two- game losing skid.

Rayo climbs to ninth place with 22 points, moving one point ahead of Valencia.

Levante 1, Real Zaragoza 0

Aragon, Spain – Levante secured its second successive La Liga win on Sunday, riding a first-half goal to a 1-0 defeat of Real Zaragoza.

Ruben Garcia recorded the lone goal of the match, scoring in the 19th minute. Levante’s Christian Lell was sent off deep into second-half stoppage time, but it made no difference as the club improved to 27 points on the season.

Real Zaragoza remains stuck on 19 points.