Despite creating plenty of chances in the first half, Barcelona could not find a way through a spirited Numancia outfit who are the only side to defeat the league leaders in the top flight this term. Indeed, it was the visitors who came closest to opening the scoring when Javier Del Pino’s 18th-minute header was disallowed. However, after the break the hosts turned their domination into goals as Lionel Messi touched in after Daniel Alves had nodded into the danger area. Samuel Eto’o quickly doubled the Catalans’ advantage and although José Barkero halved the deficit with a superb free-kick, Thierry Henry restored the two-goal cushion following a trademark run from Messi. The Argentinian international then burst into the area with 14 minutes remaining to finish off the scoring.
Second-placed Real Madrid CF needed only a solitary strike from Raúl González to overcome RC Deportivo La Coruña and create a three-point gap to Sevilla FC, after the Andalusian side lost 2-0 to Real Racing Club. Madrid extended their winning streak to five Liga matches when Raúl glanced in Lassana Diarra’s cross after 40 minutes. Deportivo twice threatened to level in the second half, only to be denied a point when Filipe struck the crossbar and Iker Casillas made an outstanding save to thwart Ángel Lafita.
Sevilla started the day level on points with Madrid in third but slumped to defeat at home to mid-table Racing. The visitors were unbeaten in six league matches prior to their trip to the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán and continued their impressive form when César Navas gave them a first-half lead. Even the sending-off of Óscar Serrano shortly afterwards could not halt their momentum and Racing sealed their success when Nikola Žigić touched in a free-kick seconds after the restart.
Fourth-placed Valencia CF failed to move within a point of Sevilla as they conceded three first-half goals in their 3-1 loss at RCD Mallorca, who climbed off the foot of the table. That meant either Málaga CF or Club Atlético de Madrid could pull level with the Mestalla club but both missed out after contesting a 1-1 draw. Elsewhere, Roberto Soldado scored a hat-trick in Getafe CF’s 5-1 rout of Real Sporting de Gijón, UD Almería beat Athletic Club Bilbao 2-1, RC Recreativo de Huelva saw off Real Betis Balompié by a single goal and Real Valladolid CF drew 1-1 with RCD Espanyol.