Barcelona 3 - 1 Mallorca

Spanish international Andres Iniesta marked his comeback from injury in style with a crucial goal as leaders Barcelona defeated Real Mallorca 3-1 on Saturday to continue where they left off before Christmas. Their first victory in 2009 takes Barca 13 points clear of second-placed Sevilla and 15 points in front of champions Real Madrid who play Villarreal on Sunday.

Barca had fallen behind to a 15th-minute strike from Aritz Aduriz, but a ninth goal of the season from Thierry Henry and Iniesta's strike turned the game in their favour. Iniesta, a star of Spain's UEFA EURO 2008-winning squad, had been injured since the beginning of November, but came on as a 67th-minute substitute and netted eight miuntes later after a pass from Eidur Gudjohnsen. Mallorca, struggling above the relegation zone, also had former Liverpool man Josemi sent off late after Iniesta humiliated him with a neat drag back. Yaya Toure completed the scoring at the Nou Camp in stoppage time as he cleverly evaded two challenges before ramming the ball home.

Manager Pep Guardiola chose to leave Argentine Lionel Messi out of the squad with Tuesday's Copa del Rey clash against Atletico Madrid in mind. The absence of the exciting winger was disappointing for the paying spectators but it was a bonus for Belarus winger Alexander Hleb who was given a rare start out wide.

Barcelona 3 - 1 Mallorca Highlights

Valencia 3 - 1 Atletico Madrid

In Saturday's late match, Valencia saw off rivals Atletico Madrid at the Mestalla thanks to two goals from David Silva and a David Villa penalty.

The home side had a string of early chances and took the lead with just over half an hour gone after the referee ruled that Raul Garcia had brought down Ruben Baraja in the area. Villa sent Leo Franco the wrong way to score but replays showed there had been minimal contact between Garcia and Baraja.

Miguel Monteira created a second for Valencia shortly after when he played in Silva, who poked the ball past the goalkeeper, before Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan pulled a goal back from the penalty spot. Silva added a third midway through the second period when he arrowed a powerful left-foot shot past Franco.

Current results;
January 3
Barcelona 3 - 1 Mallorca
Valencia 3 - 1 Atletico Madrid

January 4
Almeria ? - ? Real Betis
Athletic Bilbao ? - ? Espanyol
Malaga ? - ? Sporting Gijon
Real Madrid ? - ? Villarreal
Recreativo Huelva ? - ? Numancia
Valladolid ? - ? Racing Santander
Sevilla ? - ? Osasuna
Getafe ? - ? Deportivo La Coruna


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