Barça roll over Mallorca; Espanyol glimpse a ray of hope

Madrid, Jun 13 (efe-epa).- Barcelona romped 4-0 over Mallorca on Saturday to go 5 points clear atop LaLiga in their first competitive match since sports were shut down in March by the coronavirus, while last-place Espanyol topped Alaves before watching the three teams above them in the table lose.

The Blaugrana took the lead just 65 seconds into the match at the Son Moix in Palma.

Mallorca’s Take Kubo coughed up the ball under pressure from Luuk de Jong and Jordi Alba crossed to Arturo Vidal for the quick strike.

Martin Braithwaite, Barça’s “emergency” post-transfer-window acquisition weeks before Covid-19 descended on Spain, made it 2-0 in the 37th minute with an assist from Lionel Messi.

With the match in hand, Barcelona coach Quique Setien gave Luis Suarez some minutes five months after the Uruguayan striker underwent what then looked like season-ending surgery.

Alba scored in the 79th minute and Messi added a fourth goal in stoppage time to boost Barcelona to 61 points from 28 matches, 5 points ahead of Real Madrid, who will play their 28th match on Sunday.

Mallorca are 18th with 25 points.

In the first match of the day, bottom-dwelling Espanyol prevailed 2-0 over a visiting Alaves side who were forced to play with 10 men for 71 of the 90 regulation minutes after goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco was expelled for handling the ball outside his area.

Bernardo Espinosa and Wu Lei got the goals for Espanyol, who climbed to 23 points, just 3 fewer than 17th-place Celta Vigo, 1-0 losers Saturday to visiting Villarreal.

The away side enjoyed 60 percent possession and would have won by a bigger margin if not for the efforts of Celta goalkeeper Ruben Blanco, who finally conceded in stoppage time to Manu Trigueros.

Now in eighth place with 41 points, Villarreal look ready to contend for a Europa League spot.

Another team fighting to stay up, Leganes, lost 2-1 at home to Valladolid. The hosts gave up a goal to Enes Unal in the 2nd minute and another to Ruben Alcaraz in the 54th before Oscar Rodriguez converted from the penalty spot with six minutes left, not nearly enough for a comeback.

The result leaves Leganes 19th, level on points with Espanyol, but one rung higher based on goal difference. EFE jap/dr

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