La Liga wrap: Messi hurt as Barcelona cruise
By Football News
A whirlwind five-minute spell in the first half saw Adriano and David Villa hit the back of the net, either side of a Mario Bermejo goal for the visitors on the break at Camp Nou.
Jordi Alba scored a controversial third in the second half from an offside position, but Barca's joy turned to worry late on as Messi was forced off the pitch with a suspected knee complaint.
Nevertheless, Barca recorded another win – their ninth in 10 league games – to hold a three-point advantage over Atletico Madrid, who lost 2-0 to Valencia.
Tito Vilanova's men were on the front foot from the outset and opened the scoring on 21 minutes through Adriano.
A scintillating passing sequence freed Pedro down the right and he drilled a cross for Adriano to tap in the inevitable opener.
Celta were not without a threat of their own and equalised moments later as Bermejo capitalised on a rebound after Victor Valdes had kept out Alex Lopez.
But as fast as Celta responded with the equaliser, Barcelona were even quicker to surge back in front.
A fantastic back-heel from Villa released Andres Iniesta, who returned the ball to the Spain forward for the simplest of tap-ins in the 26th minute.
Barca needed until the hour-mark to put the game to bed as Villa's flick found Alba, at least a yard offside, and the full-back rounded Javi Varas to make it 3-1.
There was tension around Camp Nou late on as Messi went down clutching his knee, eventually walking off the pitch to sit out the rest of the game after a few minutes of treatment.
Real Madrid made it five La Liga games without defeat as they coasted to a straightforward 4-0 victory over Real Zaragoza at the Santiago Bernabeu.
In front of a quiet set of fans, two goals in quick succession – courtesy of Gonzalo Higuain and Angel di Maria – ensured Real took a two-goal lead into the break.
The visitors were resurgent in the second half, but Michael Essien and Luka Modric added a pair of late goals as Jose Mourinho earned his 100th win in charge of Real, who moved up to third but are still eight points behind Barca.
Atletico Madrid tasted defeat in the league for the first time this season as goals from Roberto Soldado and Nelson Valdez saw Valencia to a 2-0 win.
A brace from Piti helped Rayo Vallecano to a surprise 2-1 victory against Malaga, who had Martin Demichelis briefly level proceedings in the second half.