While the international breaks can sometimes be frustrating for anyone following domestic football, the recent gap in Spanish league football seems to have done wonders for Leo Messi, who scored his second hat track in two matches last night, gaining another new record in real style.
I don’t know whether he needed some home cooking, needed to mis with his Argentine team mates or just get away from the pressure of Barcelona for a few days, but he has come back bang on form. Despite last week hinting his long term future may not remain with Barça, all the signs are Messi is well and truly back after some weeks where his spark was missing. And that is always great to see.
From the time Barcelona came on until the final whistle went they had complete control, although the host’s defence wouldn’t let Barça through to score. Finally Suarez opened in the 26th minute, the first scored by the controversial Barcelona signing. Messi scored his first of the night in the 37th minute, and beating the previous record for goals scored in Champions League held by Raúl.
It took 12 minutes after the break for Messi to score his second of the night to put Barça ahead 3-0, set up by Dani Alves. Despite victory assured Barcelona kept on the pressure, although an attack by the home team ending with Rafinha receiving his marching orders after being shown a second yellow card 20 minutes before the end.
However, Apoel Nicosia also went down to 10 men with six minutes remaining, also for a second yellow card. And with just three minutes remaining Pedro passed the ball back to Messi for his third of the night. After five matches the result leaves Barça in second place in Group F with 12 points and Paris St Germain on 13. APOEL Nicosia and Ajax are on 1 and 2 points respectively.
0-1 Suárez (min 26)
0-2 Messi (min 37)
0-3 Messi (min 57)
0-4 Messi (min 86)
FC Barcelona showed they were really back in the driving seat on Saturday, with a tremendous 5-1 win against Sevilla in which Lionel Messi scored a hat trick that made him the biggest scoring player in La Liga of all time.
Barcelona dominated the first half, with Messi scoring the opener after being brought down just outside the box 20 minutes in. His free kick curled over the four-man wall and into the corner of the goal, sending the Nou Camp public into ecstacy. That goal equalled the tally of Athletic Bilbao’s Telmo Zarra of 251 that had stood since 1955, which Messi had been aiming for for a few matches now, but unable to make reality so must have boosted his morale.
However, it didn’t all go Barça’s way after the break when Jordi Alba deflected the ball into his own net for Sevilla to equalise. Neymar put Barcelona back in front through when he headed the ball into the net from a a Xavi free kick. Rakitic also used his head to score Barça’s third of the night 20 minutes into the second half, which was set up by Suarez.
Five minutes later Neymar set up Messi to score his second of the night and make him the all time top scorer in the Spanish League. Understandably both his team mates and crowd went crazy, with Messi’s name being chanted over and over, while the Argentine was thrown into the air by the other players. Messi was not yet finished though and a few minutes later he made it 5-1 for Barça, once again set up by Neymar.
1-0 Messi (min 20)
1-1 Jordi Alba (min 46)
2-1 Neymar (min 48)
3-1 Rakitic (min 64)
4-1 Messi (min 71)
5-1 Messi (min 77)
FC Barcelona beat Ajax on Wednesday night thanks to two goals from Leo Messi, thereby equalling the all-time Champions League rcord of 71 goals set by Raul.
The result leaves them in second place in Group F, one point behind PSG with two more matches to play.
0-1 Messi (min 35)
0-2 Messi (min 75)
FC Barcelona got the fans roaring at exactly 6 minutes into the game when Messi took the ball from Pedro and passed it to Neymar, who then curled the ball into the upper right corner of the goal mouth. Ajax then started to press harder but was no match for FC Barcelona and by the 23rd minute, Messi was again able to score a goal for the team.
During the second half, FC Barcelona mostly controlled the ball and Ajax was having a difficult time keeping up. Although there were a few opportunities on either side, there were no goals scored during this time.
A loose ball ended up at Anwar El Ghazi’s feet who got in a shot at the 86th minute. And just when Ajax thought they could catch up, Pedro and Rafinha combined to find a lurking Sandro who scored a goal 92nd minute into the game that had the team comfortably sitting at second place in Group F with six points.
1-0 Neymar (min 6)
2-0 Messi (min 23)
2-1 El Ghazi (min 86)
3-1 Sandro Ramirez (min 92)
Messi is just one strike away to equal the record of former Athletic Bilbao striker, Telmo Zarra, which is 251 Primera Division goals. Barcelona of course was the aggressive team while Eibar was more on the defensive with the Eibar coach more in favour of 5-3-2 formation than his usual 4-4-2
The first half, despite Barcelona’s dominance of possession, belonged to Eibar. Capa rounded Bravo after a through ball but was shot wide of the near post.
During the second half, Eibar was able to do well in containing Barcelona but has then buckled before the hour mark. Xavi was able to carry the ball forward from midfield and played in Messi that resulted in his first goal score of the season. Neymar was then able to score a goal when Xavi played a short pass to Alves who then picked out Neymar to volley home his eight league goal this season. Messi got a goal in during the 74th minute of the game, playing a one-two with Neymar before smashing the ball in the far post and into the net.
1-0 Xavi (min 60)
2-0 Neymar (min 72)
3-0 Messi (min 74)
Barcelona played Rayo Vallecano at the Vallecas stadium in Madrid on Saturday, beating the hosts 2-0 thanks to two goals in two minutes from Messi and Neymar.
Barça starting with a rotated line up that saw Piqué, Bartra, Mathieu, Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets and Munir start; Xavi for one must have been happy, as only last week he voiced his frustration at starting on the bench so often this season. While Rayo definitely weren’t going to just let the Catalans walk over them, when the goals came they were within a 2 minute period. First Messi scored off a Pique chip and then right after Munir set up the second goal for Neymar.
In the second half Luis Enrique brought on Rakitic for Iniesta and then Sandro for Neymar and with Rayo down to 10 men after a second yellow for Morcillo Messi had plenty of opportunities to put Barça further in the ahead. However, it was not to happen and the match ended with Barcelona beating Rayo 2-0.
0-1 Messi (min 34)
0-2 Neymar (min 35)
Goals from Messi and Neymar were not enough to overcome Pasris Saint-Germain last night in Paris, when the two clubs clashed in the group stage of Chanmpions League.
PSG were the first to score in an intense first half thanks to David Luiz in the ninth minute, but immediately Leo Messi equalised. With high possession for Barcelona, and the squad playing well it looked like it could go well for the Catalans. Unfortunately in a moment of confusion at the back a cross by former Barça player Motta was picked up by Verratti and the French side went back into the lead.
Following the break the pressure continued, but it was PSG who scored a third goal to leave Barcelona trailing 3-1. That gap was shortlived though and Neymar scored Barça’s second of the night. On came Munir, Sandro and Xavi, but although there were some good chances the match ended 3-2.
The result leaves Paris Saint-Germain on top with 4 points, Barcelona with 3, Ajax on 2 and APOEL with 1.
1-0 David Luiz (min 9)
1-1 Messi (min 10)
2-1 Verratti (min 25)
3-1 Matuidi (min 53)
3-2 Neymar (min 55)
Sunday saw FC Barcelona travel down to Valencia where they beat Levante in a tremendous match with plenty of goals for the Catalans.
Early on the home side looked as if they might score for themselves, but just after the half hour mark Neymar broke the deadlock to put Barça ahead. But after Messi was brought down in the box he uncharacteristically shot wide from the penalty spot, losing the chance to open the gap. However, Rakitic did that towards the end of the first half, leaving Barcelona with the clear advantage going into the break.
Back on for the second half, Neymar went down to cause a moment of panic on the Barcelona bench. Although he appeared to be uninjured, Sandro Ramírez was brought on in his place and soon made his mark felt when he scored off a Messi assist. With three goals it might have been the end of the night, but Pedro scored one more minutes later and, finally, Leo Messi scored goal number five a quarter hour from the end to leave Barça with a one hundred percent record this season.
0-1 Neymar (min 33)
0-2 Rakitic (min 43)
0-3 Sandro Ramírez (min 56)
0-4 Pedro (min 63)
0-5 Messi (min 76)
Messi and Munir helped FC Barcelona to their first win of the new season after facing Elche at the Nou Camp last night. The match was also the first league match for the club under Luis Enrique.
With high possession throughout, Barcelona controlled the game but despite some good efforts by Munir and Iniesta, it was not until the last five minutes of the first half that Lionel Messi finally opened the scoring. Immediately after the visitors created their own opportunity and although Mascherano stopped the attack, he earned himself a red card for doing so.
Back on after the break with one man down, Barcelona continued the pressure, which was quickly rewarded with a goal by new boy Munir; as a product of La Masia he cost the club nothing in transfer fees and is able to play. And after another quarter of an hour and the match was sealed, with another superb effort by Messi.
While Elche is hardly the toughest team Barcelona will play they at least started off the new season showing how they can play.
1-0 Messi (min 41)
2-0 Munir (min 46)
3-0 Messi (min 63)
Messi opened the scoring for FC Barcelona last night when the Catalans played their first home match under Luis Enrique and the new look Barça was officially introduced.
With many locals away on holiday, the stadium was rather empty and many in the crowd tourists. However, that didn’t stop Barça from putting in a show for everyone who attended. As well as the Messi opener, Neymar scored two and Munir, up from Barça B scored two more. The final goal of the match was scored by Sandro Ramírez just a couple of minutes from the end,
The match also marked the debut of Luis Suarez, controversially signed after biting a player during the World Cup in Brazil. While he can play in friendly matches, his suspension will see him out of action for the start of the season. He had better do more than he did last night to justify the amount spent on him though.
1-0 Messi (min 2)
2-0 Neymar (min 11)
3-0 Neymar (min 43)
4-0 Munir (min 53)
5-0 Munir (min 76)
6-0 Sandro Ramírez (min 88)