Controversial Barca win helps keep pace with Real
Lionel Messi went level with Cristiano Ronaldo's record of 41 league goals for the season on Saturday when he scored twice in Barcelona's 2-1 win over Levante. The victory closed the gap on Real Madrid to four points with El Clasico to come next weekend.sports Updated: Apr 16, 2012 01:25 IST
Lionel Messi went level with Cristiano Ronaldo's record of 41 league goals for the season on Saturday when he scored twice in Barcelona's 2-1 win over Levante. The victory closed the gap on Real Madrid to four points with El Clasico to come next weekend.
Earlier, Real beat Sporting Gijon 3-1 with Ronaldo hitting his 41st league goal, beating his own record set last year, but Messi was quick to reply.
Levante went ahead from a penalty converted by Jose Barkero after a foul by Sergio Busquets but Messi netted a second half brace.
The second goal came from the penalty spot after a foul by Pedro Botelho on Juan Cuenca.A Sergio Ramos handball had seen Miguel Angel De las Cuevas put Sporting ahead against Real from the penalty spot before Gonzalo Higuain equalised with a header.
Ronaldo broke Sporting's resistance with a header after and following the dismissal of Roberto Canella for a second yellow card, Karim Benzema hit the third which was Real's record 107th goal of the season.
It puts them level with John Toshack's Real Madrid team in the 1989-90 season.
United extend lead
Manchester: Manchester United moved a step closer to retaining the Premier League title with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Aston Villa on Sunday to move five points clear at the top.
The three points did not arrive without controversy, however, as Ashley Young's theatrical tumble in the penalty area under minimal contact allowed Wayne Rooney to settle the hosts' nerves with a seventh-minute spot kick.
Villa, who are still in danger of relegation, offered little and United stretched their lead just before halftime through Danny Welbeck's close-range finish.
Rooney scored again with a deflected effort after 73 minutes and Nani added the fourth in stoppage time.