Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said the pressure was now on Real Madrid after his side beat Recreativo Huelva 2-0 at the Camp Nou on Saturday to open up a nine-point gap at the Spanish League summit.
For Barcelona, keeping players fresh seems the main concern for coach Guardiola, who rested Carles Puyol, Xavi and Samuel Eto’o against Recreativo to give them a breather in the season run-in.
Uruguayan Martin Caceres started in defense against his old club, while Bojan Krkic replaced Eto’o in attack.
After watching Barcelona smash four goals past Bayern in the first half in midweek, Huelva, third from bottom, would have wanted to keep things tight, but it didn’t work out that way.
Thierry Henry used his pace to get in behind the defense and his cut back was slotted in by Andres Iniesta with just 46 seconds gone.
Victor Valdes was then called upon to make a great save to foil Sebastian Nayar in the sixth minute.
Barcelona were controlling proceedings and Lionel Messi thought he had doubled the lead minutes before the interval, only for Nasief Morris to block his goal-bound shot.
An own-goal provided Barcelona with the second they craved as the sliding Morris diverted Iniesta’s cross into his own net. Lionel Messi missed a penalty late on, but it proved irrelevant.
Spain’s other Champions League hopefuls, Villarreal fell to their third league defeat in four games with a 2-0 home loss to Malaga on Saturday.
Worryingly for Villarreal, Marcos Senna, club captain and the main playmaker, was taken off with a knock in the closing stages.