Spanish league leaders Barcelona put their injury concerns to one side as they cruised to a 4-0 win over Racing Santander on Saturday.
The Catalan side had seen their lead at the top reduced to two points following their first league defeat last weekend against Atletico Madrid but they were comfortably in charge from the start against Racing.
Despite missing several key players including Dani Alves, Xavi Hernandez and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Barca went ahead after seven minutes through Andres Iniesta who latched onto a loose ball in the penalty area.
Racing went further behind through a tame goal when a Thierry Henry free-kick went straight through their wall, but then minutes later another from almost exactly the same spot was struck perfectly by veteran Mexican international defender Rafa Marquez and went in off the post.
Racing offered few moments of danger on the counter-attack and their newly discovered prodigy Sergio Canales had a quiet game. Later, Sevilla beat Mallorca to hand them their season’s first home defeat as they ran out 3-1 winners and took a crucial advantage in the fight for a Champions League place.
Aston villa rout burnley 5-2
In the Premier League, Blackburn Rovers beat Bolton Wanderers 3-0 to push the latter further into the relegation mire at Ewood Park on Sunday. At Villa Park, Aston Villa moved up to fifth after plundering five goals to keep Burnley in the bottom three.
In another match, Liverpool’s Javier Mascherano and Steven Gerrard were shown yellow cards against Manchester City. At halftime, the scoreline stood 0-0.
Three reds but Inter manage to hold on
Nine-man Inter Milan stretched their lead at the top of Serie A to eight points after a 0-0 draw with 10-man Sampdoria in a nasty encounter at the San Siro. Sampdoria played around 35 min with a two-man advantage and 25 minutes with one extra player and yet never showed the urgency needed to break down the champions.
NKorea beat India
Defending champions India went down to World Cup qualifiers DPR Korea 0-3 in their last group league match at the Sughatadasa Stadium on Sunday. This was the U-23 team’s third straight defeat in the AFC Challenge Cup.