Madrid, Dec 22 (IANS) FC Barcelona were able to maintain the pressure on Real Madrid at the top of the La Liga thanks to a 5-0 win at home against struggling Cordoba CF in the last round of games of 2014.
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid took advantage of a serious refereeing mistake to win 4-1 over Athletic Bilbao. Athletic led through a Mikel Rico goal, but Antoine Griezmann equalised at the start of the second half and referee Alejandro Hernandez gifted a penalty to the visitors six minutes later when Tiago Mendes clearly dived in the home area Sunday, reports Xinhua.
With the home side looking for the equaliser, Griezmann scored twice more on the break, the second from an off-side position.
Villarreal CF maintained their excellent recent form with an easy 3-0 win at home against a struggling Deportivo la Coruna.
The result was never in doubt from the moment that Jonathan Dos Santos opened the scoring in the 10th minute. In-form striker Luciano Vietto scored two goals in a five-minute spell midway through the second half to secure the win.
Sunday also saw Granada CF's run without a win continue as they managed only a 1-1 draw at home to Getafe, whose coach, Cosmin Contra looks set to join Chinese side Guangzhou R&F, while goals from Ignacio Camacho and Luis Alberto saw Malaga fight back to win 2-1 away over rock bottom Elche CF, who had taken the lead through David Lomban.
Barcelona kicked off against Cordoba knowing they had to win at home against lowly Cordoba to take advantage of Real Madrid being away in the World Club World Cup.
The Catalans kicked off four points behind Real and knew anything other than a win would allow Real to open a gap of six or seven points.
They didn't have to wait long in the Camp Nou as Pedro Rodriguez opened the scoring in the second minute, but fans had to wait until after the break as Luis Suarez's first league goal since joining from Liverpool doubled the lead in the 52nd minute.
Xavi Hernandez came on as a second half substitute and made his 741st official appearance for the club, which sees him equal former Real Madrid striker Raul Gonzalez's record number of appearances for a club.
Xavi provided the cross which allowed Gerard Pique to head home Barcelona's third goal of the game with 10 minutes remaining and two late goals from Lionel Messi gave the score a healthy look to end the year.
Paco Alcacer' s first half goal gave Valencia a 1-0 win away against SD Eibar in the first ever meeting between the two sides played in difficult conditions in pouring rain.
A late penalty for Levante UD denied Real Sociedad another win under David Moyes. Moyes' men had looked certain to share points thanks to Sergio Canales goal.
Espanyol won away for the first time this season thanks to two goals from Sergio Garcia and one from Lucas Vazquez against Rayo Vallecano.Published 22 Dec 2014, 15:24 IST