Sports Desk, Feb 13 (efe-epa).- Atletico Madrid looked solid Saturday in a 1-2 result at Granada, while Lionel Messi had a brace as Barcelona trounced Alaves 5-1 and Sevilla beat Huesca 1-0 to extend their winning streak in all competitions to nine.
Colchoneros coach Diego Pablo Simeone was anxious to see his LaLiga-leading squad return to form after dropping points in a draw with Celta.
Despite missing several players to injury and Covid-19, Atleti dominated against Granada, but needed 62 minute to break through on a goal by Marcos Llorente.
Yangel Herrera equalized for the hosts three minutes later before Angel Correa put the visitors ahead for good in the 75th minute.
“We made a very great effort and with effort plus talent, we are closer to our objectives,” Simeone said after his side improved to 54 points, 8 clear with a game in hand.
Granada are in the eighth spot with 30 points.
At Camp Nou, Barça kept pace with Real Madrid in the battle for second place with a thrashing of 16th-place Alaves.
Francisco Trincao opened the scoring for the hosts in the 29th minute and Messi made it 2-0 with a goal in first half stoppage time.
Luis Rioja pulled one back for Alaves 12 minutes into the second half until Barcelona exploded for three goals between the 74th and 80th minute – by Trincao, Messi and Junior Firpo – to post a seventh consecutive LaLiga victory for 46 points, the same as Real Madrid but ahead in the table on goal difference.
Against last-place Huesca, Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui decided to rest a few players looking ahead to next Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund.
The disciplined visiting side kept Sevilla off the scoreboard until Munir El Haddadi’s goal in the 57th minute and goalkeeper Yassine Bono had to be sharp to deny Huesca’s Rafa Mir and Sergio Gomez.
Sevilla remain in fourth, just a point behind Barça and Real Madrid.
The day’s other contest, pitting 17th-place Eibar against Valladolid in 18th, ended in a 1-1 draw that was of little value to either team.
Roque Mesa converted a penalty to put the visitors ahead in the 7th minute, but Kike answered for Valladolid in the 23rd. EFE apa/dr