Barcelona cruise past Athletic Bilbao as Fernando Torres brace lifts Atletico

Barcelona moved within a point of Real Madrid with a straightforward 3-0 win at home over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

Paco Alcacer, Lionel Messi and Aleix Vidal provided the goals to help Barcelona close the gap at the top of La Liga, though Madrid still have two games in hand.

Alcacer scored his first league goal for Barcelona in the 18th minute, tucking the ball inside the post after Neymar cut the ball back to him from the endline.

Messi provided the second from a free kick from a tight angle five minutes before half-time. Messi lined up his kick from the side of the box and it slipped under Athletic goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz.

The points were secure in the 67th minute when Vidal controlled a bouncing ball in front of the box and finished it cap to scoring.

Real Madrid were due to meet Celta Vigo on Sunday evening, but that fixture was postponed for safety reasons after the bad weather which swept across northern Spain left the Balaidos stadium roof unsafe.

Fernando Torres’ two goals were all Atletico Madrid needed to beat Leganes.

Fernando Torres scored twice to help Atletico Madrid get back to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Leganes.

Torres got on the scoresheet in the 15th minute by reacting quickly after Antoine Griezmann missed a penalty. The 32-year-old then added a second goal six minutes after the break with a confident strike.

The goals brought Torres’ career goals in La Liga to 100, though seven of those came in the Segunda Division during his first two years with the club.

Atletico are fourth in the table, three points behind third-placed Sevilla, who host Villarreal on Sunday, and six behind Barcelona in second.

Eibar embarrassed Valencia in front of the home fans with a 4-0 win that pushed the victors up to seventh.

After Sergi Enrich put Eibar in front on 28 minutes, Carlos Soler was sent off on the stroke of half-time after bringing down Gonzalo Escalante in the box, and Adrian Gonzalez doubled the lead from the spot.

Dani Garcia made it 3-0 against the 10 men in the second half, and Enrich netted his second of the day to cap the scoring.

In Saturday’s early kick-off, Espanyol moved into eighth place by winning 1-0 at Malaga, thanks to Argentine winger Pablo Piatti’s long-range strike on 17 minutes.

ESPN

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