La Liga wrap: Messi nets 50th goal in Barca win, Espanyol crush Rayo
Lionel Messi notched his 50th goal of the season as he claimed both strikes in Barcelona's 2-0 win over Racing Santander on Sunday.
Visitors Barca took the lead in the 29th minute of the La Liga clash at Estadio El Sardinero.
Argentina forward Messi slotted home from close range after Cesc Fabregas delivered a cross to the back post.
Barca kept the pressure on their hosts and they were duly rewarded 10 minutes into the second half.
Fabregas was hauled down in the box by Domingo Cisma, and Messi sent Racing goalkeeper Mario Fernandez the wrong way to score his 50th goal of the campaign in all competitions.
Messi has so far scored 30 goals in La Liga, 12 in the Champions League, two in the Copa del Rey, three in the Spanish Supercopa and two in the Club World Cup, as well as one goal in the UEFA Super Cup.
The win sees second-placed Barca reduce Real Madrid's advantage back to 10 points after the league leaders won at Real Betis a day earlier.
In other matches on Sunday, Espanyol hammered promoted side Rayo Vallecano 5-1 at home.
The hosts led 4-0 by the half-time break at Estadi Cornella-El Prat, courtesy of two goals apiece from Kalu Uche and Philippe Coutinho.
Veteran Raul Tamudo, who made 340 league appearances for Espanyol, scored against his former team to get one back for the visitors eight minutes into the second half.
But Nigeria international Uche notched Espanyol's fifth to complete his hat-trick on 67 minutes.
Atletico Madrid eased to a 2-0 win at home to 10-man Granada, thanks to goals from Miranda and Radamel Falcao.
Valencia gave up a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 at home to Mallorca.
First-half strikes from Alberto Costa and Aritz Aduriz had the hosts leading going into the break at Estadio Mestalla.
But Emilio Nsue and Victor Casadesus both netted to draw Mallorca level during a 10-minute spell early in the second half.
Valencia finished the match with 10 men following the 84th-minute dismissal of goal-scorer Costa.
Finally, Athletic Bilbao had a reality check after their mid-week Europa League victory over Manchester United, as they went down 2-1 away to Osasuna.