Thursday, April 27, 2017 12:31 am
Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona extended their La Liga lead with a thumping 7-1 win over bottom side Osasuna.
The defending champions are now three points clear of Real Madrid, who have played two games fewer and face Deportivo la Coruna later on Wednesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that before kick-off, a huge banner was unfolded in commemoration of Messi’s landmark total 500 goals, reading : “Gracias Leo!” (Thank you Leo!).
Messi’s 501st Barca goal opened the scoring after 12 minutes, before Andre Gomes smashed in after a lovely Ivan Rakitic cross in the 30th minute.
Roberto Torres gave the away side hope in the 48th minute, but further strikes by Gomes and Messi, two from Paco Alcacer and Javier Mascherano’s first Barca goal followed.
After Messi’s 12th-minute opener, fans held up their shirts as they mirrored the Argentine’s celebration of a 93rd-minute winner – his 500th goal for Barca – at Madrid on Sunday.
That 3-2 victory re-opened the title race in dramatic fashion, but Barca must hope Madrid slip up in one of their six remaining matches if they are to defend last season’s success.
Osasuna’s defeat means they will be relegated if Leganes beat Las Palmas later on Wednesday.
After Torres curled past Marc-Andre Ter Stegen just after half-time, they were buried by four goals within 20 minutes.
Messi’s second of the night was the pick of the bunch as he skipped past a series of challenges and fired home, shortly after Gomes had put Barca 3-1 up with his second, tapping in after Gerard Pique’s header struck the post.
NAN also reports that Argentina forward Messi has now scored 49 goals this season in all competitions from 48 games. (NAN)