Barcelona stretched their lead at the top of La Liga to nine points on Saturday as they defeated Las Palmas 2-1 at the Estadio Gran Canaria.
Luis Suarez and Neymar struck in the first half to gain maximum points for the Blaugrana as their procession to the Primera Division title continues.
The victory shortened Barca's odds to become champions of Spain once more, and the leaders are now 1-12 to retain their La Liga crown, according to Oddschecker.com.
In Saturday's other matches, Espanyol stunned Deportivo La Coruna and grabbed a vital 1-0 win in Catalonia. Real Betis drew 1-1 with Sporting Gijon, and Celta Vigo beat Eibar in the night's late game, winning 3-2 to move up to sixth place.
Here are the results from Saturday's games, including current title odds and updated standings:
|Espanyol||1-0||Deportivo La Coruna|
|Real Betis||1-1||Sporting Gijon|
|9||Deportivo La Coruna||25||6||14||5||2||32|
The Barcelona express train steamed ahead on Saturday as the treble winners overcame Las Palmas.
Suarez scored the opener after just six minutes, but the hosts immediately struck back as Willian Jose added his name to the scoresheet.
Las Palmas were in a buoyant mood in the first half but were put back in their place by Barca six minutes before the break.
Neymar grabbed his team's second of the game—and the eventual match-winner—sealing the points.
The Yellows battled hard against their illustrious opponents and fielded an attacking lineup, as highlighted by ESPN's Dermot Corrigan:
Las Palmas going toe to toe with Barca so far... very attacking line-up from them... Barca front three staying well up pitch all the time.— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) February 20, 2016
The second half was more of a procession as both teams created half-chances, but Barca always looked comfortable and ready to move through the gears.
Blaugrana coach Luis Enrique was satisfied with his team's display at full-time, according to Lewis Dean of Sky Sports.
"I don't think there was a lack of rhythm," Enrique said. "It was an effective performance. I am happy with what I have seen, but we can improve things. We had chances to close out the game."
Barca are now unbeaten in their last 32 matches in all competitions, per Dean, and it is difficult to imagine either of the Madrid powerhouses catching them at the summit.
Depor lost ground in the top half of the table as they fell in a surprise 1-0 defeat at lowly Espanyol in Barcelona.
A poor and goalless first half was punctured by a Marco Asensio strike seven minutes after the restart.
The attacking midfielder—on loan from Real Madrid—found the top-right corner, and his goal was enough to claim maximum points.
Gijon believed they were on their way to victory when they took the lead against Betis at the Benito Villamarin, but the hosts took just two minutes to strike back and earn a point.
Castro gave the visitors the advantage after a devastating counter-attack after 65 minutes, but defender German Pezzella came up with the goods as his shot found the bottom corner for Betis.
In Saturday's final match, Celta recaptured lost form as they defeated Eibar 3-2 after a calamitous run in La Liga.
Two quick goals before half-time gave the Celtics overall control, squeezing Eibar's opportunity of a share of the spoils.
John Guidetti scored the opener just after the half-hour mark, assisted by Iago Aspas. The hosts only had to wait a further eight minutes to double their advantage after prodigious wide player Jonny netted from long range.
Guidetti claimed his brace midway through the second half as Celta made sure of the points to climb above Eibar into sixth.
However, Saul converted what appeared to be a consolation for the Gunners from the penalty spot with six minutes remaining, sparking an unexpected revival.
Japan international Takashi Inui scored Eibar's second goal three minutes later, leading to a grandstand finish. Celta were forced to hauled themselves over the line in a game that looked dead and buried only minutes from the final whistle.
Real and Atleti would have been watching Barca closely on Saturday, and even when the Blaugrana are not at their best, they have a deadly knack of winning games.
Messi was anonymous during the fixture with Las Palmas, but Barca never looked in trouble at any point, despite a spirited performance from their island opposition.