MADRID (AFP) - Lionel Messi netted his 30th and 31st league goals of the season as Barcelona inched closer to retaining their La Liga title with a 4-1 home win over relegation-threatened Tenerife at Camp Nou on Tuesday.
The Catalans are now four points clear of Real Madrid at the summit with just two games left, but Real have a game in hand and must win at fourth-placed Real Mallorca on Wednesday to keep their title hopes alive.
Messi put Barcelona ahead on 17 minutes and added a second in the final minute to stay on course to win the Pichichi crown for the league's top scorer, as he is currently six goals ahead of his nearest rival, Real striker Gonzalo Higuain.
Argentine Roman Martinez stunned the champions by equalising for Tenerife shortly before half-time following an error from home captain Carles Puyol.
But second-half goals from Bojan Krkic (in the 63rd minute) and substitute Pedro Rodriguez (77) turned the game in Barca's favour before Messi rubbed salt in the wound with his late strike.
"It was a difficult night due to the weather and the fixture list is already taking its toll but we gave our all," said Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes.
"It is a very competitive league and we have won our game and now we just have to wait."
Barcelona will hope Mallorca can do them a favour against Real as they turn their focus to Saturday's tough trip to Champions League hopefuls Sevilla.
Promoted Tenerife, who have won just once on their travels all season, stay third from bottom, although they are level on points with Malaga above them.
Valencia sealed a place in the Champions League qualifying round after coming from behind to defeat bottom side Xerez 3-1 at the Mestalla later on Tuesday.
Spain international winger Juan Mata scored a brace before setting up David Silva for a third as third-placed Valencia made sure of a top-four finish and moved to within a point of an automatic place in next season's Champions League.
Xerez prop up the table, as they have done for most of the season, lying five points from safety and could be relegated on Wednesday if results go against them.
A rain-soaked night and the mid-week fixture kept some Barcelona fans away for the visit of Tenerife at Camp Nou and the wet surface made passing tricky for both sides.
On 12 minutes Barcelona right-back Dani Alves had the first real opening but chose to pass when shooting seemed the best option and the chance went begging.
Barca got the early goal they craved on 17 minutes with Ibrahimovic heading down an Alves cross and Messi chipping in from close range for his 30th league goal of the campaign.
The hosts should have made it 2-0 on 34 minutes but Maxwell chose to shoot from an acute angle rather than squaring to Ibrahimovic.
The miss was punished six minutes before half-time when captain Puyol produced a rare stray pass to gift possession to Tenerife and Argentine Roman slotted the ball past Valdes.
Bojan restored Barca's lead just after the hour, latching onto a neat pass from the active Alves before finishing coolly into the bottom-left corner.
A lighting counter-attack then released Pedro, who chipped his shot just wide, but on 77 minutes the substitute found the net after racing onto Messi's pass and sliding a shot under the goalkeeper.
In the dying seconds of the game Messi controlled Alves's lofted pass in the penalty area before dinking in to cap an ultimately comfortable win.
Elsewhere, Almeria defeated Villarreal 4-2 to dent the visitors' hopes of qualifying for the Europa League.
Villarreal had Argentine centre-back Mateo Musacchio sent off after just 16 minutes and Almeria took full advantage, racking up a 3-0 lead by half-time.
Villarreal fall to seventh, behind Getafe on goal difference after the Madrid-based side drew 1-1 at home to strugglers Sporting Gijon.
|10||L. Messi||17' 90'|
for Piqué 46'
for Z. Ibrahimovic 66'
for Bojan 81'
|Xhaka tempted by Premier League switch|
|Carragher proud of Liverpool ticket-price U-turn|
|Mourinho and United a perfect match - McCarthy|
|Blanc extends PSG contract|
|Pulis heaps praise on Peterborough|
|Toranzo did not lose toes - Huracan president|
|Willian expects Terry to depart Chelsea|
|Mexico 2 Senegal 0: Duenas, Pizarro inspire win|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Sao Paulo, Racing qualify for group stages|
|Liverpool should be transparent with Sturridge injuries - Owen|
|FFA hands Wanderers fine and suspended points deduction|
|Luis Enrique: I had to give my voice a rest|
|Silva: I was not kicked off Marseille team bus|
|Blanc could sign PSG renewal by end of week|
|PSG drawn against familiar foes Saint-Etienne in Coupe de France|
|Neville confident Valencia fans will be back|
|Guardiola praises beaten Bochum|
|Coupe de France Review: Ibrahimovic sends PSG through, Nantes win thriller|
|I love penalties - West Brom´s shootout hero Foster|
|Ross County 0 Hearts 3: Dauda dazzles in valuable victory|
|Bayern Munich avoid Borussia Dortmund in DFB-Pokal semi-finals|
|FC Heidenheim 2 Hertha Berlin 3: Ibisevic at the double in DFB-Pokal|
|Hart: We will fight for Pellegrini all the way|
|Peterborough United 1 West Brom 1 (aet, 3-4 on pens): Foster spares Premier League team´s blushes|
|Paris Saint-Germain 3 Lyon 0: Ibrahimovic fires holders into last eight|
|Valencia 1 Barcelona 1 (1-8 agg): Kaptoum breaks record with late leveller|
|Bochum 0 Bayern Munich 3: Lewandowski double helps book semi-final spot|
|Colour clash forces Stoke to produce new kit|
|Hernandez to miss Darmstadt match with muscle injury|
|Stoichkov backs ´smart guy´ Neymar to stay at Barcelona|
|FSG´s letter of apology to Liverpool fans in full|
|Huracan bus overturns following Copa Libertadores clash|
|Liverpool scrap ticket price increases following fan backlash|
|Oviedo hopeful of new Everton contract|
|Zoff: Juventus-Napoli a Scudetto match|
|Bolton chairman Phil Gartside dies aged 63|
|Palermo turn to Bosi after Barros Schelotto exit|
|Ben Arfa considered retirement from football during exile|
|Bilic: We paid the price for cup progress|
|Griezmann happy to stay at Atletico|
|Wales to face Sweden in final Euro 2016 warm-up|
|Varela hopeful of long United career|
|Ki: I had ice on my face for two days|
|Niasse settling in well, could face West Brom - Martinez|
|Stevens leaves Hoffenheim on health grounds and retires|
|Diaby nearing return after near 18-month lay-off|
|Nasri would love to finish career at Manchester City|
|Captain Howedes extends Schalke stay|
|M´Vila keen to stay if Sunderland survive|
|Johnson admits child sex and grooming charges|
|Amazing Mahrez is one of Premier League´s best - Ulloa|
|Ronaldo, Messi rivalry good for football - Zidane|
|Barros Schelotto leaves Palermo|
|Age is just a number - Ilori defends Klopp´s team selection|
|Messi, Suarez and Neymar rested for Copa second leg|
|Madrid can dream of trophies under Zidane - Raul|
|Ancelotti: Italy job is a decade away|
|Reus will become a monster, says Dortmund boss Tuchel|
|Young Tottenham stars don´t know their limits - Lloris|
|Niang happy at Milan despite Leicester interest|
|Ticket price rise means more tourist fans, warns football supporters chairman|
|Ogbonna revels in first West Ham goal|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Huracan, River Plate advance to group stages|
|Klopp backs Benteke to rediscover goalscoring form|
|Turan will not leave Barca for China - agent|
|Beating Chelsea more difficult without Mourinho - Motta|
|Tuchel praises Dortmund for ´perfect game´|
|Klopp rues Liverpool wastefulness in FA Cup loss|
|Allegri: Chelsea rumours unfounded|
|Bilic feels weight of history after Liverpool win|
|Coupe de France Review: Second tier Sochaux stun Ligue 1 Monaco|
|West Ham 2 Liverpool 1 (aet): Ogbonna sinks Klopp´s men in cup thriller|
|Football League Review: Rhodes rescues a point to send Boro top|
|Stuttgart 1 Borussia Dortmund 3: Aubameyang helps Tuchel´s men into last four|
|Kyle Allen blames chaotic Texas A&M culture on Johnny Manziel era|
|Dortmund fans stage protest against ticket prices for Stuttgart game|
|Bayer Leverkusen 1 Werder Bremen 3: 10-man hosts dumped out|
|Ferdinand fears title wilderness for United|
|Carvalho lands new Sporting deal with €45m buy-out clause|
|Ben Arfa out for at least four weeks with hamstring injury|
|Neville´s Valencia woes welcomed by Crespo|
|Ozil key to Arsenal´s title hopes - Rosicky|
|Zika threat could keep Solo from Rio Olympics|
|Blanc pleased to have solved David Luiz matter|
|Atletico midfielder Partey suffers thigh strain|
|Dickov: Leicester title run built to last|
|Guardiola not a menace for our players, says Luis Enrique|
|Mexico v Senegal: Osorio believes in youngsters|
|Celta Vigo v Sevilla: Krohn-Dehli not taking Copa del Rey final for granted|
|Madrid confirm Marcelo shoulder dislocation|
|Injury rules Chiellini out of crucial Juve games|
|Oblak extends Atletico deal|
|Blanc hints PSG could move for Ben Arfa|
|Luis Enrique urges Neymar to cope with off-field distractions|
|Carrick: Manchester United not throwing in towel|
|Neville determined to turn things around at Valencia|
|Guardiola hails Lewandowski professionalism amid Real Madrid and PSG rumours|
|Guardiola wary of ´aggressive´ Bochum|
|Premier League reveals new logo|
|West Ham open Payet contract talks|
|I could leave Barcelona for Guardiola, says Busquets|
|Giggs can be Manchester United´s Guardiola - Robson|
|Zidane has everything to become a great coach - Ancelotti|
|Carragher: Liverpool got it wrong on ticket prices|
|Neymar will be at Barcelona for years, claims director|
|Eder talks up Inter´s Scudetto chances|
|Larsson: Watching Barca is like playing FIFA|
|City recruit Wilkinson hoping to debut in Melbourne derby|
|Allegri will join Chelsea, says former coach|
|Zanetti: No need to compare Maradona and Messi|
|Vardy: I never expected Leicester to top Premier League|
|Capello: Ronaldo has at least three years at the top|
|Klopp hoping for Sturridge revival|
|Bilic wants new contract to keep Payet at West Ham|
|Shelvey can be as good as Cabaye - Sissoko|