Result: Real Zaragoza 1-4 Barcelona

Cesc Fabregas, Lionel Messi
© PA Photos
Barcelona move to within three points of La Liga leaders Real Madrid with a 4-1 win at Real Zaragoza.

Barcelona have moved to within three points of La Liga leaders Real Madrid with a 4-1 win at Real Zaragoza.

The hosts could have taken the lead after 24 minutes when Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes brought down Angel Lafita for a penalty. However, Valdes was able to get down to low to save Carlos Aranda's spot kick and keep the scores level.

Zaragoza made the breakthrough six minutes later when Aranda inventively headed in the rebound after Valdes had saved the striker's initial shot with his legs.

The visitors pulled themselves level on 36 minutes thanks to Carles Puyol's finish after goalkeeper Roberto Gago had flapped from a corner.

Barca took the lead soon after as Lionel Messi lashed the ball home after a quick counter-attack.

Zaragoza were reduced to 10 men before the break when Abraham Minero picked up his second yellow card for a trip on Alexis Sanchez.

Despite being kept at bay for large spells of the second half, Barcelona stretched their lead with five minutes to play as Messi converted from the spot following Javier Paredes's foul on Sanchez.

Pep Guardiola's side sealed the win in the second minute of injury time when Messi played in Pedro with a chipped pass to allow the midfielder to fire in.

Aitor Karanka
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Real Madrid22164257203752
2Sevilla24164448291952
3Barcelona23156263194451
4Atletico MadridAtletico23136443192445
5Real Sociedad2414283732544
6Villarreal23109430151539
7EibarEibar2411583931838
8Athletic Bilbao2310582828035
9Celta Vigo2210393636033
10AlavesAlaves248972429-533
11Espanyol238873031-132
12Las PalmasLas Palmas2477103236-428
13Valencia2475123443-926
14Malaga2468103140-926
15Real Betis2366112337-1424
16Leganes2456132039-1921
17Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo2347122639-1319
18Sporting GijonSporting Gijon2344152547-2216
19Granada2337132149-2816
20Osasuna2317152452-2810