Goals from Pedro, after barely a minute of play, and Messi - from the penalty spot - gave the Catalans a 2-0 lead at the break.

Andres Iniesta ensured all three points early in the second half for Barca, who made it 55 points from a possible 60 in the league this season.

Luis Fabiano scored a hat-trick as Sevilla continued their improved form with a convincing 4-1 victory over struggling Levante at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

Two goals from Luis Fabiano and another from Julien Escude put Sevilla 3-0 up by half-time and, although Levante pulled a goal back through Xisco Munoz in the 58th minute, Luis Fabiano competed his treble 10 minutes later to wrap up the scoring.

Aritz Aduriz's late strike settled an amazing encounter in Champions League-chasing Valencia's favour as they claimed a 4-3 win against a spirited nine-man Malaga side.

Salomon Rondon opened the scoring for the visitors after 10 minutes and netted again 10 minutes before the break after Juan Mata had equalised from a penalty - an incident which had seen Malaga defender Martin Demichelis sent off.

Half-time substitutes Roberto Soldado and Ever Banega had the desired effect for Valencia with goals either side of Malaga's second red card, this time for Demichelis' central-defensive partner Helder Rosario.

Malaga refused to give up, though, and got back on level terms through Julio Baptista only for Aduriz to have the last word.