Tougher tests in La Liga as Real and Barca in race for title

Real Madrid and Barcelona will have tougher tests to come but emphatic victories on their return to action at the weekend suggest there may not be much margin for error in what is left of LaLiga’s title race.

Leaders Barca hammered Real Mallorca 4-0 on Saturday before second-placed Madrid swept Eibar aside 3-1 a day later, having led 3-0 at the end of the first half, only to ease off in the second.

Both performances erased fears that had arisen during the three-month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic, which saw La Liga go without competitive matches for 93 days.

Madrid looked comfortable in their new home at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium – part of their training complex – while Lionel Messi looked fit, with no sign of the tightness in his thigh that was bothering him earlier this month.

Two assists, a goal and 90 minutes played suggested Barcelona’s captain is in good shape. Start forecasting your laliga games now

“There were many uncertainties,” said coach Quique Setien. “Nobody was clear what was going to happen. We had some bad touches but we will improve with more contact with the ball over time.