La Liga wrap: Barca win at Malaga, Atletico keep pace
Barcelona's outstanding season continued with a 3-1 victory at Malaga in Sunday's La Liga action.
The Catalan giants have now won 18 of their 19 league fixtures this season, only dropping points in a 2-2 draw against fellow heavyweights Real Madrid in October.
After scoring 91 goals for club and country in 2012, Argentine Lionel Messi already has two this year, adding to his penalty in a 4-0 win over Espanyol last week with a 27th-minute opener at La Rosaleda.
Midfielder Cesc Fabregas doubled the lead five minutes after the break, converting Messi's assist.
And Thiago Alcantara made sure of the win with an 82nd-minute strike, which was also set-up by Messi.
Malaga managed a late consolation through Argentine substitute Diego Buonanotte, but it mattered little, as Barcelona celebrated another league victory.
They did not extend their eight-point lead on second-placed Atletico Madrid though, who kept pace with a 2-0 win over Real Zaragoza.
Tiago opened the scoring on 31 minutes for the winners and Radamel Falcao continued his outstanding season with a goal from the penalty spot seven minutes later.
The day's other match saw strugglers Deportivo La Coruna claim a 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad, with Carlos Vela netting the equaliser for the hosts.