Messi on target again, AC beat Juventus

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Updated: November 26, 2012

Lionel Messi struck twice as Barcelona won 4-0 at Levante on Sunday to remain three points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga .Athletico kept the heat on Barca with a win of their own while in Italy AC Milan derailed Juventus at the San Siro. In Germany, Leverkusen tightened things at the top of the table with a win over Hoffenheim.

It was another overwhelming performance by Barcelona at Levante, Inesta the provider for both Messi goals, and Fabregas, and then just for good measure finding the back of the net himself in the 4-0 rout. The Argentine’s brace means he now has 82 goals in 2012, just three short of German legend Gerd Mueller’s all-time calendar record of 85 set in 1972. He also tops the La Liga charts for the season with 19 goals.

Atletico had earlier beaten Sevilla 4-0 to keep pace at the top and go eight points ahead of city rivals Real Madrid in third who had lost 1-0 at Betis on Saturday.

Barca’s win increased their gap over Real Madrid to 11 points.

In Italy, AC Milan beat Serie A table-toppers Juventus 1-0 on Sunday thanks to a controversial penalty by Robinho. El Shaarawy, Robinho and Boateng combined well up front for the home team giving them the deserved win, moving them up to 8th in the table.

Inter Milan now have the chance to close the gap on Juventus to just one point if they can win their game at Parma on Monday. Cagliari host Napoli in the other Monday game, with Lazio at home to Udinese on Tuesday.

In Germany, Bayer Leverkusen beat Hoffenheim 2-1 on Sunday to join a four-team pack chasing leaders Bayern Munich with their fourth win in five games.