MADRID: Lionel Messi created three goals and scored another as Barcelona warmed up for their Champions League showdown with Arsenal by thrashing Getafe 6-0 at the Nou Camp to equal a club record 12 consecutive La Liga wins.
The Argentinian missed a fourth penalty of the season after Juan Rodriguez’s own goal had given the Catalans the lead after just eight minutes, but soon made amends by laying on goals for Munir El Haddadi and Neymar before he got on the scoresheet himself with a brilliant strike from 20 yards.
Messi got his third assist by teeing up Neymar’s second after the break and then Arda Turan scored for the second time in three matches with an impressive bicycle kick.
Antoine Griezmann’s 23rd goal of the season was sandwiched by Saul Niguez’s first-half header and a late third from Angel Correa as Atletico secured their fourth straight league.
Atletico could have won by a wider margin as Yannick Carrasco’s second-half shot hit the crossbar, while Deportivo’s run without a league win was extended to 13 matches.
Inter move up
In Italy Internazionale scored two late goals to beat Bologna 2-1 at the Stadio Meazza and move above Fiorentina into fourth place, but saw forward Mauro Icardi forced off early on with a knee injury. The Nerazzurri lost Icardi just 11 minutes in after he twisted his knee when sliding into the six-yard box trying to covert a cross from Eder.
Inter had look set for an evening of frustration in front of their own supporters before Ivan Perisic headed in at a corner in the 72nd minute. A volley from Danilo D’Ambrosio following another set-play made it 2-0 just four minutes later.
Franco Brienza netted a consolation in the 89th minute with an angled drive, which was Bologna’s first Serie A goal since February 14.
In Germany Bayern Munich warmed up for the biggest game of their season so far – Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Juventus – with a comfortable 5-0 win over Werder Bremen.
Thomas Muller and Thiago Alcantara were on target twice each, with Robert Lewandowski also finding the back of the net as Pep Guardiola’s side cruised to victory to extend their lead at the top of the Bundesliga to eight points.