Madrid: A sparkling Andres Iniesta twice set up Lionel Messi, created a goal for Cesc Fabregas and netted a brilliant effort of his own as La Liga leaders Barcelona extended their near-perfect start with a thumping 4-0 win at Levante on Sunday.
The Spain playmaker’s masterly performance at Levante’s Ciutat de Valencia stadium helped maintain unbeaten Barca’s three-point lead over Atletico Madrid, who earlier crushed nine-man Sevilla by the same scoreline.
The latest victory for Barca, their 12th in 13 matches, also put them 11 points clear of champions and arch-rivals Real Madrid, who slipped further back in third after they were upset 1-0 at Real Betis on Saturday.
An almost impeccable performance from Tito Vilanova’s side, one of their best of the season, was crowned when Victor Valdes saved Jose Javier Barkero’s late penalty and Barca have 37 points with Atletico on 34 and Real on 26.
“We just need to keep doing what we have been doing, this is the right path,” Iniesta said in an interview with a Spanish broadcaster.
“Atletico are our closest rivals right now and playing very well and they are candidates for the title,” he added.
Malaga are fourth on 22 points after they thrashed Valencia 4-0 on Saturday, level with fifth-placed Betis and two ahead of Levante in sixth. After Levante kept a dominant Barca at bay until halftime and created a couple of decent chances of their own, Iniesta sent Messi clear to open the scoring with a dink over Levante goalkeeper Gustavo Munua in the 47th minute. (Reuters)