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La Liga

Barcelona begin 2013 with a bang, whilst drama reigns in Madrid

La Liga returned this weekend and featured a 'typical' Barcelona performance and more drama in Madrid as Jose Mourinho sensationally dropped Iker Casillas for a second consecutive time.

With the Spanish season resuming after the usual winter break, did anyone expect anything less than the norm as far as Barcelona and Real Madrid are concerned.

The Catalans have been in superb form this season and a first half performance against city neighbours Espanyol showed just way they are always classed as favourites for both La Liga and the Champions League.

Xavi Hernandez started the scoring with Tenerife born Pedro Rodriguez notching a quick fire brace, then, Lionel Messi added a fourth on the half hour mark from the penalty spot.

The second half of a very one sided Catalan derby was then treated like a training match by Tito Vilanova's side, who infact returned to the bench for the first time following a recent operation.

The score ended 4-0 at Camp Nou and it meant that Barcelona have now secured 52 from a possible 54 points this season, sitting 11-points ahead of second placed Atletico Madrid.

Third placed Real Madrid began their game with Real Sociedad at Santiago Bernabeu surrounded in drama as once again Jose Mourinho decided to leave Spain's number one Iker Casillas on the bench.

It proved costly but not before Karim Benzema put the hosts in front. Then, the drama unfolded as reserve keeper Adan was sent off for a clumsy challenge on Carlos Vela.

Casillas came on, replacing the unfortunate Jose Callejon but he could do little about Xabi Prieto's resulting spot kick.

The game then played out to be rather entertaining with Prieto scoring a further two goals, only to see his hat-trick wasted as Sami Khedira and a Cristiano Ronaldo brace secured the win for Mourinho's men.

Elsewhere, Malaga lost out to Deportivo on Saturday night, Valencia came from behind to beat Granada and Athletic Bilbao suffered another defeat against high-flying Levante.

image: © apasciuto

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