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Messi goal proves decisive for Barcelona

  • Story Highlights
  • Lionel Messi scores the only goal as Barcelona keep up the pace in Primera
  • Real Madrid stay six points adrift after Marcelo gives them 1-0 win at Huelva
  • Atletico Madrid go fourth in table with a 3-0 thrashing of struggling Numancia
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(CNN) -- Lionel Messi scored a 19th minute winner as Barcelona moved ever closer to regaining the Spanish title with a 1-0 victory at Getafe on Saturday night.

Messi (right) proved a handful for Getafe's defenders all night.

Messi (right) proved a handful for Getafe's defenders all night.

Barcelona had not won in the Coliseum since 2005 and owed victory to the Argentine's 20th goal of the season.

Real Madrid kept up the pressure on their big Primera Liga rivals by defeating Recreativo Huelva 1-0 to stay six points adrift.

Brazilian Marcelo scored three minutes into the second half as Real made it 15 wins from 17 league matches under former Tottenham coach Juande Ramos.

"We are still hanging in there and keep fighting for every three points," said Marcelo.

"We just have to hope Barca drop some points. I think Sevilla could do us a favor this week (the two sides meet on Wednesday) and get at least a draw at Barcelona."

The same night Real encounter Madrid neighbors Getafe.

Barca coach Pep Guardiola fielded a strong team for the away trip and they responded to cap a fine week after completing a Champions League quarterfinal win over Bayern Munich.

Goalkeeper Victor Valdes made his 300th appearance for the Catalan giants but was rarely tested as Barca dominated.

Messi scored after a pass from Xavi and fellow striker Samuel Eto'o had other chances to extend the lead, hitting the post in the second half, but they still eased to victory.

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In other action, Atletico Madrid moved above Valencia into the fourth qualifying spot for the Champions League with a 3-0 win over struggling Numancia.

Valencia can leapfrog them by avoiding defeat against third-placed Sevilla whom they host on Sunday.

Villarreal, a point behind both sides in a close battle for the European places, are at Valladolid.

Malaga were held 1-1 by Real Mallorca to slip two points behind Atletico while Deportivo La Coruna stayed in the hunt for a Europa Cup place with a 1-0 win at Athletic Bilbao.

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