Messi breaks the 300-goal barrier as Barcelona maintain their big lead
Lionel Messi led Barcelona to a 2-1 comeback victory with a double strike at lowly Granada in La Liga on Saturday taking his tally for the club to 301 goals.
The World Player of the Year pounced on a loose ball to level in the 50th minute before netting a superb free kick for the winner in the 73rd, the 37th goal of the campaign for La Ligas top scorer.
Only a last-minute save from goalkeeper Tono in a one-on-one situation denied Messi another hat-trick in his extraordinary career with the Spanish giants.
“Over 300 goals. It’s extraordinary what Messi does,” said Barca assistant coach Jordi Roura afterwards. “We had a lot of chances and didn’t take them but he got two goals that are very important.”
The victory moved Barca a daunting 15 points clear at the top of the table overnight on Saturday. But that lead was cut to 12 again as Atletico Madrid recorded a comprehensive 3-0 victory at Real Valladolid last night thanks to goals from Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Cristian Rodriquez.
Barca, who visit AC Milan in the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday, remain 16 points in front of great rivals, third-placed Real Madrid, who in last night’s late La Liga game defeated city rivals Rayo Vallecano 2-0 at the Bernabeu thanks to early goals from Alvaro Morata and defender Sergio Ramos.
Real had to battle with ten men for 72 minutes after Ramos was sent off for a second yellow card after 18 minutes.
Napoli’s hopes of closing the gap on Juventus at the top of the Serie A to two points were dashed yesterday following a a 0-0 draw at home to Sampdoria.
With leaders Juve losing 1-0 at AS Roma on Saturday, second-placed Napoli were looking to up the pressure on their Turin rivals and bounce back after a 3-0 Europa League defeat at the San Paolo against Viktoria Plzen on Thursday.
Juventus still remain within touching distance, albeit four rather than two points away, with the two sides still scheduled to meet at the San Paolo in March.
Struggling Pescara lost 2-0 to Cagliari while Torino earned a useful three points with a 2-1 win at home to Atalanta. Genoa, easing themselves clear of the drop zone, saw off Udinese 1-0 while Catania defeated Bologna 1-0.