Majestic Barcelona retake six-point lead in style

Majestic Barcelona retake six-point lead in styleMadrid  - Majestic Barcelona turned on the style once again, brushing aside third-placed Sevilla 4-0 Wednesday in a euphoric Camp Nou.

The latest exhibition leaves Josep Guardiola's sumptuous side six points ahead of second-place Real Madrid, who, in contrast, struggled Tuesday to beat lowly Getafe 3-2.

Barca now have 81 points from 32 games, while Real have 75.

Barca have won their last seven league matches without conceding a goal - and without their obvious superiority ever having been in doubt.

"Things are going really well for us," said Andres Iniesta, playing the best football of his career.

The playmaker denied that Barca already felt like champions: "The sensations are good, but we have still have several hard games coming up. ... We will try to continue like this."

Iniesta began the rout after just three minutes by scoring with a long-range curling shot as the Sevilla defence suicidally backed away from him.

In the 17th minute, with Barca dancing to their usual handsome rhythm, league top scorer Samuel Eto'o made it 2-0 by finishing off an exquisite move between Iniesta and Xavi.

The one-way traffic continued into the second half, and Xavi made it 3-0 in the 49th minute with a delightful drive, after Eto'o and Iniesta had again torn apart the ragged Sevilla defence.

Instead of easing up, Barca continued to come forward, as if trying to prove to themselves just how good a team they can become.

The almost inevitable fourth goal came in the 55th minute, a low Thierry Henry cross-shot from the left.

Lionel Messi, arguably Planet Football's best player at the moment, was kept by Guardiola on the bench all match - and hardly anyone realized, so sharp were Barca in attack.

Earlier Wednesday, Valencia had consolidated themselves in fourth place with a 2-1 win at Betis.

Valencia scored their fifth straight win thanks to two more goals from Euro 2008 top scorer David Villa, who now has 25, just two less than Eto'o.

Villa struck first in the 66th minute of a dull game, flicking in a tempting near-post centre from fellow Spain striker Juan Mata.

Villa made it 2-0 14 minutes later off a clever combination between Joaquin and Edu.

Ricardo Oliveira pulled a goal back for Betis four minutes from time, but it came too late to save the hosts.

Valencia now have 55 points from 32 games, two points behind Sevilla.

"It was important for us to keep up our winning run tonight," a delighted Villa said.

Malaga, meanwhile, were moving up to fifth on 50 points by winning 3-2 at Osasuna.

Malaga's winning goal was headed home 13 minutes from time by former Spain forward Salva.

In Wednesday's other early game, Deportivo Coruna beat midtable rivals Almeria 2-0 with goals from Joan Verdu and Niouoi Lassad. (dpa)