Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo share goal spoils as Barca keeps gap

    (CNN)Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were both on target as both Barcelona and Real Madrid kept up the ferocious pace at the top of La Liga with comfortable wins Wednesday.

    Messi scored the opener, his 33rd in La Liga this season, as leader Barcelona beat Almeria 4-0 in the Nou Camp.
    Ronaldo was unable to match his five-goal heroics of the weekend, but his diving headed goal in the 67th minute broke the deadlock in 2-0 victory at Rayo Vallecano to keep Real within four points of Barca at the top.
      It was the Portuguese international's 300th goal for Real in 288 matches and puts him just 23 goals behind the club's record goalscorer Raul, who took 741 matches to reach a tally of 323 goals.
      After the 9-1 drubbing of Granada, Real was made to work much harder against an in-form team and the pressure was greater as Barcelona had secured its three points earlier in the evening.
      Several chances were wasted and Ronaldo was harshly booked for diving shortly before he connected with a Dani Carvajal cross to score his 37th La Liga goal of the campaign.
      Ronaldo then set up Colombia star James Rodriquez for the clinching second, a low drive.
      Earlier, Messi curled home the opener after just over half an hour, with the other scores coming from Luis Suarez with a double with defender Marc Bartra also on target after the break.
      Luis Enrique rested Neymar and Gerard Pique ahead of the tough trip to Sevilla Saturday, but the changes did not affect a fine team performance.
      It was Barca's 20th win in the last 21 games in all competitions.

      Cup glory

      In the English FA Cup, Suarez's old side Liverpool rebounded from recent disappointments by winning its quarterfinal replay at Blackburn 1-0.
      Philippe Coutinho scored the winner in the 70th minute after an interchange of passes with Jordan Henderson to book his side's passage to the last four at Wembley where Aston Villa awaits.
      Liverpool is seeking its eighth triumph in the oldest cup competition in world football. Arsenal plays second-flight Reading in the other semifinal.
      The Italian Cup final will be contested by Juventus and Lazio after the capital side beat Napoli 1-0 in the second leg of the semifinal Wednesday.
      With the first leg tied 1-1, a goal from Senad Lulic in the 79th minute settled the tie in Lazio's favor as he connected with an Anderson cross.
      Bayern Munich had its work cut out to reach the last four in its defense of the German Cup, held 0-0 by Bayer Leverkusen after extra time.
      Pep Guardiola's team won the penalty shootout 5-3 to progress, with Thiago Alcantara scoring the winning spot kick after Manuel Neuer had made a fine save on the first Bayer penalty.
      A Zlatan Ibrahimovic hat-trick led Paris Saint-Germain to the French Cup final after a 4-1 semifinal win over Saint-Etienne at the Parc des Princes.
      PSG is still alive in four competitions, including the Champions League, where if faces Barcelona in the last eight.