Eto'o inspires rout of Malaga

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The Independent Football

Barcelona demolished Malaga 6-0 at the Nou Camp last night with an irresistible display of attacking football that re-established their six-point lead at the top of La Liga but it was not enough to satisfy their demanding coach Pep Guardiola.

Samuel Eto'o scored twice, taking his league tally for the season to 25, while Xavi, Thierry Henry, Daniel Alves and Lionel Messi weighed in with one apiece. "We can still do better," the Barça coach claimed. "We played a good first half and first 15 minutes of the second... but I am convinced we can maintain this level for the full 90 minutes." The leaders have 69 points with 10 matches left to play, six ahead of chasing Real Madrid, who were earlier led to a 3-0 victory at home to Almeria by two-goal Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

Barça midfielder Xavi burst through on to Eto'o's pass to open the scoring and Messi beat three men with a dash off the right flank to net high at the near post in the 25th minute. Xavi fed Henry to round the goalkeeper and then Eto'o to make it 4-0 before the break. Andres Iniesta floated a pass into the area for Alves to loop a header over a stranded Inaki Goitia in the 51st minute and, soon after, Henry unselfishly squared for Eto'o to grab his second.

At the Bernabeu, Marcelo opened the scoring for Real with a thunderous strike after 24 minutes but his team failed to spark until after the break. Dutchman Huntelaar volleyed a poor defensive clearance high into the net after 53 minutes, and sealed the side's 12th league win in 13 from a loose ball, after Arjen Robben's run and shot was blocked.

Seville are third with 54 points and Villarreal fourth with 48 after both won their home matches on Saturday.

Ten-man Valencia won their first game since the beginning of February when Juan Mata netted late on for a 1-0 victory at Racing Santander.

Unai Emery's side had defender Alexis sent off at the start of the second half and survived a last-minute penalty from Racing which Oscar Serrano blasted against the crossbar. Valencia are sixth with 43 points behind Atletico Madrid on goal difference, who lost 2-0 at Real Mallorca last night.

At the foot of the table, Javad Nekounam's last-minute header gave Osasuna a 1-0 home win over Espanyol that moved them up to 18th on 29 points. Numancia, who beat Sporting Gijon 2-1 at home are 19th with 26 points, four ahead of Espanyol.