9 Feb 2015

Barca take advantage after Atletico thrash Real 4-0

12:24 pm on 9 February 2015

Lionel Messi produced another devastating attacking show as Spanish football giants Barcelona thumped Athletic Bilbao 5-2 in La Liga to move within a point of leaders Real Madrid.

Messi scored once and was involved in all five goals as the Catalan side took full advantage of Real's 4-0 derby defeat by champions Atletico Madrid on Sunday to move up to 53 points.

Champions Atletico are three points adrift of Barcelona after upsetting Real's title challenge, tearing apart their city rivals 4-0 to extend their unbeaten run over Real to six matches.

Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo returned from a two-game ban but couldn't spark Real Photo: Photosport

Tiago put the hosts ahead with a right-footed shot which Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas failed to hold.

Midfielder Saul Niguez then doubled the lead moments later with a spectacular overhead kick.

Antoine Griezmann poked home a third goal from close range before Mario Mandzukic headed the fourth.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas

Iker Casillas cuts a forlorn figure in Real Madrid's goal Photo: Photosport

The result leaves Real with a four-point lead over second-placed Barcelona, who travel to Athletic Bilbao on Monday.

Atletico's fourth win in six games over Carlo Ancelotti's side was a dominant display from start to finish and draws them level on points with Barcelona.

Real were without the injured quartet of James Rodriguez, Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric and Pepe, but they did welcome back Cristiano Ronaldo following a two-match suspension.

But a lacklustre display saw them fail to register a shot on target until nine minutes from time.