Thierry Henry scored a hat-trick as Barcelona crushed Valencia 4-0 at the Nou Camp to move six points clear at the top of the Primera Liga on Saturday. The France striker struck twice in the first half and added a third near the end of the match after Daniel Alves had made it 3-0 in the 46th minute. Barca moved on to 35 points from 14 matches, making the most of second-placed Villarreal's come-from-behind 3-3 draw at home to Getafe after they were 3-0 down at halftime. Valencia stay third with 27 points, two behind Villarreal, and one ahead of champions Real Madrid who host Sevilla on Sunday. Atletico Madrid climbed to fifth on 24 points with a 5-2 win at Sporting Gijon and are ahead of Sevilla on goal difference. With Samuel Eto'o suspended, Henry took on the 'number nine' role at the Nou Camp. He raced on to Yaya Toure's long pass to lob the opener in the 20th minute and finished off a sweeping passing move that started in Barca's own area for his second soon after. Brazil's Alves burst down the right to score as Valencia appealed for an earlier offside and substitute Bojan Krkic laid on Henry's third in the 79th after a great run off the right flank. LATE EQUALISER Earlier, Giuseppe Rossi grabbed a late equaliser as Villarreal fought back to grab a point at the Madrigal. Getafe built on their 1-1 draw in Barcelona and 3-1 victory over Real Madrid by ripping open Villarreal on the break in the first half. Esteban Granero controlled a cross on his chest and volleyed a superb opener after just nine minutes. Jaime Gavilan then matched him for skill with a far-post volley in the 17th before Francisco Casquero made it 3-0 on the half-hour. Manuel Pellegrini's side hit back with a deflection off Robert Pires after the break and Sebastian Eguren then poked the ball in after a free kick in the 83rd. Italian striker Rossi levelled in the 85th and rolled a shot just wide of the post at the end. Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan led Atletico to victory with two goals apiece in another thriller in Gijon. Sporting's Mate Bilic opened the scoring with a header in the 4th but two minutes later Argentine Aguero controlled the ball on his chest and finished with a spectacular overhead kick. In the pouring rain Sporting's goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar spilled a shot for Aguero to poach his second just before the break and just before the hour Uruguay's Forlan stole the ball off a defender to make it 3-1. David Barral pulled it back to 3-2 with a thunderous shot before Maxi Rodriguez and Forlan made sure of a resounding victory for the visitors.
6 December 2008
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