La Liga wrap: Real, Barca continue dominance

Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain hit a hat-trick in their 6-3 thrashing of Valencia in La Liga on Saturday.Jose Mourinho’s side was in devastating form as they held a 4-0 half-time lead at the Estadio de Mestalla, although they failed to make up any ground on first-placed rivals Barcelona, who also had a win.

Higuain was the provider of the first in the 23rd minute as his pass led to Valencia goal-keeper Vicente Guaita palming into the path of Karim Benzema, who hammered home into an empty net.

The Argentine got his first goal of three in the 31st minute with a tight finish, before setting up Kaka for the team’s third six minutes from half-time.

The Brazilian returned the favour twice to Higuain, either side of the interval, as Real Madrid led 5-0 after 53 minutes.

Valencia striker Roberto Soldado pulled a goal back on the hour mark before Kaka completed his brace after an assist from Benzema two minutes later.

Substitutes Jonas and Jordi Alba provided some respectability to the scoreline with goals in the last 10 minutes as the third-placed Valencia crashed to a heavy defeat.

Barcelona maintained their eight-point lead at the top of the table, however, with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Osasuna.

Goals from David Villa and his second-half replacement Lionel Messi ensured Pep Guardiola’s team kept their buffer at the top.

Villa finished smartly in the 24th minute after benefiting from a slick team move that led to a superb pass from Jeffren in his direction.

Messi wrapped up the points two minutes from time with a neat finish after Dani Alves slid him behind the Osasuna defence.

The loss continues Osasuna’s nervous finish to the season, still sitting two points above the drop zone.