MADRID (Sporting Alert) – FC Barcelona maintained it huge lead over its traveling rivals in the Spanish La Liga standings, following another cruising victory on Sunday.
A brace from Pedro and a goal each from Xavi and Lionel pushed Barcelona to a 4-0 win over Espanyol at Camp Nou.
The victory was wrapped up after 30 minutes, as manager Tito Vilanova made a shocking return to the dugout, after only recently undergoing throat surgery .
“He’s proving that it’s possible to fight against these types of diseases. He’s shown great mental and physical strength,” the club’s President Sandro Rosell told Barça TV.
“The doctors authorised him to be here tonight and we’ll have to see how he feels after the match.
“He’s very eager to lead the team and as long as the doctors allow him, he’ll carry the flag of the Club.”
BACK TO FIELD PLAYS
The three points collected by Barcelona on Sunday saw the leaders moved to 52 points, 11 more than second place Atletico Madrid, who were held 1-1 at Mallorca, who are 16th.
Defending champions Real Madrid remains 16 points behind Barcelona in the La Liga standings, but cut the gap to just five points behind Atletico after their thrilling 4-3 victory over Real Sociedad.
Malaga remains fourth despite their stunning 1-0 defeat at relegation threaten Deportivo on Saturday
They have 31pts, the same as fifth placed Real Betis, while Levante moved to sixth with a 3-1 positive result over ten Athletic.
Completing top ten are Valencia (7), Sociedad (8), Rayo Vallecano (9) and Getafe (10).
Celta, with 18pts moved up to 15th with a 3-1 win over Valladolid, with Iago Aspas grabbing two goals to secure those three points on Sunday. Valladolid remains 11th with 22pts.
The Spanish La Liga standings have some interesting battle at the bottom as well, with Espanyol (18), Deportivo (19) and Osasuna (20) all struggling to pick up needed victories, although Deportivo took a step in the right direction with the positive result over Malaga.
Spanish La Liga Standings – Jan 6