Messi scored for the sixth game in a row in all competitions. REUTERS/Albert Gea
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Barcelona took a giant step toward winning the La Liga title after they beat Athletic Bilbao 2-0 Sunday and nearest challengers Atletico Madrid lost 2-1 at Villarreal, giving the Catalans an 11-point lead at the top of the standings. Paco Alcacer took the place of suspended striker Luis Suarez in the starting lineup and scored a first goal in three months to put Barca ahead in the eighth minute at the Nou Camp, side-footing home a pass from Jordi Alba.Atletico forward Antoine Griezmann won and converted a penalty to put his side ahead at Villarreal in the 20th minute.Barca lead the standings on 75 points with nine games remaining.
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