MADRID, Spain -- Barcelona forward Lionel Messi scored a penalty against Levante on Saturday to match Cristiano Ronaldos Spanish league record 41 goals in a season, set less than two hours earlier. Jordan Matthews Jersey
. Messi converted the 72nd-minute spot kick to give Barcelona a 2-1 victory and equal rival Ronaldo, who set the record with a 74th-minute header in Real Madrids 3-1 victory over Sporting Gijon. Messi had trailed Ronaldo by two goals going into the match and curled home a 64th-minute equalizer to close the gap to one. Footballs biggest rivals gave the Spanish league its first-ever pair of players with 40-plus goals in a season, and it was the first time the feat had been achieved since 1930-31 when Aston Villas Pongo Waring and Sheffield Uniteds Jimmy Dunne passed the 40-goal mark. Ronaldo matched his overall goal tally from last year after reaching 53 goals, while Messis 63 goals in all competitions is the most in European play since Bayern Munichs Gerd Mueller scored 67 during the 1972-73 season. The goals ensured Madrid maintained its four point lead over three-time defending champion Barcelona before next Saturdays "clasico" match between the bitter rivals, which could prove crucial in the title race with only four more games remaining after that. "Things are going well, but the most important thing is for the team to do things well, and were right in there for the league," Messi said after matching former Brazil striker Ronaldo and Mariano Martins record run of scoring in 10 straight league games. Both players have been altering the history books as Ronaldo became the first Spanish league player to score over 40 goals in back-to-back seasons, while Messi became the first player to score five in a Champions League game last month as his competition total of 14 goals is a record also. Messi, Barcelonas all-time leading scorer at just 24, has scored 201 goals in 210 games under coach Pep Guardiola, who arrived in 2008. Ronaldo, meanwhile, has scored 138 times in 137 appearances for Madrid since joining from Manchester United in 2009. Ronaldos header also helped Madrid reach 107 goals on the season to match the record mark set by it during the 1989-90 season. The pair of world player of the year winners can add to their overall season tallies in the Champions League this week as Madrid plays at Bayern Munich and Barcelona is at Chelsea. Connor Barwin Authentic Jersey
. Not to be outdone, Atletico Madrid bettered its title rivals by demolishing 10-man Getafe 7-0 with Diego Costa returning from injury to score with a brilliant bicycle kick. "It was an almost perfect night," Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. Wes Hopkins Authentic Jersey
. Poyets immediate challenge is to produce Sunderlands first victory in the league, with the northeast club bottom with just one point from seven matches. "Trust me, believe, connect with the team," Poyet said after signing a two-year contract.No Canadian women made it to the Olympic womens shor track 1,500-metre final. The last two Canadian skaters remaining, Valerie Maltais and Marie-Eve Drolet, were eliminated from the semifinals on Saturday at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi. Chinas Zhou Yang later successfully defended her Olympic gold medal in the final. But it was a disappointing day for Canada. Montreals Drolet, 32, finished third in the opening semifinal group with a time of two minutes, 19.516 seconds. Only the top two skaters advanced. Maltais, a native of La Baie, Que., and Canadas best hope for a medal in this distance, couldnt get around defending Olympic champion Zhou Yang of China and Koreas Suk Hee Shim. She ended up third in her semi in 2:19.516. In the earlier 1,500m heats, Marianne St-Gelais of Saint-Felicien, Que., failed to qualify for the semifinals after placing fourth in her heat with a time of 2:27.071. The Saint-Felicien,, Que. Jerome Brown Eagles Jersey
. , native was also coming off a disappointing 500m performance on Thursday when she was unable to advance to the 500m final. The final featured some terrific racing. Zhou and Koreas Shim Suk Hee battled throughout the race. It appeared the younger Shim would win the event but Zhou made a beautiful move to the inside with two laps remaining. Zhou held on from there, winning with a time of 2:19.140. Shim took the silver in 2:19.239, while Italian Arianna Fontanna won her second medal in Sochi, earning bronze in 2:19.416. "I was nervous at the beginning, but after I finished it I felt so thrilled," Zhou told reporters. "Ive been through a lot during the past four years. I didnt expect I could come back to the Olympic Games." Korean Kim Alang was disqualified for taking out Li Jianrou, who won the gold medal in the 500m on Thursday. (With files from Reuters) ' ' '