Madrid, September 22:

Barcelona registered their first league win of the season and they did it in style with a 6-1 demolition of 10-man Sporting Gijon on Sunday.

Barcelona started the match in the unusual position of third from bottom after struggling to convert chances but they let off steam by running riot in Gijon. Two goals inside five minutes from Xavi and Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o put Barca in control and an own goal made it 3-0. Andres Iniesta then capped a brilliant move with a delicate finish and Lionel Messi scored twice in the final five minutes to push the Catalans up to ninth.

Real Madrid moved to within a point of the leading quartet with a 2-0 triumph at Racing Santander. Ruben de la Red scored his first league goal for the club and Ruud van Nistelrooy produced a deadly finish as the champions rose to sixth in the table.

Four teams share top spot in Spain including Villarreal and Valencia who recorded victories over Numancia and Osasuna respectively. Villarreal came from a goal down to beat Numancia 2-1. Valencia lead the standings on goal difference after a late Juan Mata goal downed Osasuna.

Four teams are locked on seven points at the top with Almeria continuing their great start to the season with a 1-0 win over Malaga. Almeria join Espanyol, Villarreal and Valencia at the top. The match between Real Betis and Sevilla at the Manuel Ruiz de Lopera ended in a goalless draw. Deportivo La Coruna also played a 0-0 draw with Real Mallorca.