La Liga wrap: Messi's Barca, Atletico close 2016 with wins

La Liga By: Ambrose Udeme | 19/12/2016

La Liga wrap: Messi's Barca, Atletico close 2016 with wins

In the absence of league leaders Real Madrid who secured the Club World Cup trophy in Japan on Sunday, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla all recorded wins to close the gap on Zinedine Zidane's men.

The La Liga game week 16 kicked off on Saturday and eight matches out of the scheduled nine games were played on Day 1 and Day 2 with a total of 22 goals recorded across the nine centres.

Barcelona 4-1 Espanyol

Magical Messi mauls city rivals Espanyol to piut pressure on Real Madrid

Lionel Messi scored and produced some magical dribbles at Camp Nou to set up two of Barcelona's goals in the 4-1 thumping of city rivals Espanyol in the Catalan derby on Sunday.

Luis Saurez's 18th minute strike gave the home side a deserved first half lead before making things safe seven minutes after the hour mark in the second half.

Jordi Alba extended the lead with a cool left footed drive into the bottom corner but the visitors pulled back in open play after a fantastic interchanging passes that was superbly finished by David López before the Argentine skipper capped off a spectacular performance with his 12th of the season and Barca's fourth of the night.

Atlético Madrid 1-0 Las Palmas

 Atletico Madrid defeated Las Palmas by a narrow 1-0 margin

Atletico Madrid bounced back from last Monday's 3-0 loss at Villarreal to see off Las Palmas 1-0 on Saturday at the Vicente Calderón stadium.

Saul Niguez's 59th minute effort was the game's only goal after thumping past the visitors' goalkeeper Javi Varas in style.

In other results, new boys Alaves defeated Real Betis 1-0, Sporting Gijon lost 3-1 at the hands of Villarreal while Real Sociedad defeated Granada 2-0 away from home.

Full La Liga week 16 results

Alaves 1-0 Real Betis

Sporting Gijon 1-3 Villarreal

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Las Palmas

Granada 0-2 Real Sociedad

Sevilla 4-1 Las Palmas

Leganes 1-1 Eibar

Deportivo 2-0 Osasuna