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Messi double sees Barca go 10 points clear

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BRACE: Lionel Messi. Pic: Reuters

BRACE: Lionel Messi. Pic: Reuters

REUTERS

BRACE: Lionel Messi. Pic: Reuters

Lionel Messi achieved another career milestone as Barcelona maintained their 10-point lead at the top of LaLiga with 2-0 derby win over Espanyol.

Messi's late double at the Nou Camp ensured he surpassed 40 goals in a season for the 10th successive year.

The hosts had been largely frustrated by their resolute opponents until Messi broke the deadlock in the 71st minute with a chipped free-kick.

Then Messi, who had been an injury doubt for the game because of injury, turned in a cross by substitute Malcom to seal victory one minute from time.

Second-placed Atletico Madrid restored their grip on second place as they eased to a 4-0 win away to fifth-placed Alaves.

Bouncing back from their defeat in Bilbao last time out, Atletico took just four minutes to grab the lead through Saul Niguez, before Diego Costa struck a superb second eight minutes later.

Second-half goals from Alvaro Morata and Thomas Partey confirmed Atletico's impressive return to form.