Messi hits 50 as Barcelona stay 8 clear

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Messi hits 50 as Barcelona stay 8 clear


Lionel Messi

MADRID - Argentine superstar Lionel Messi on Saturday became the first player to score 50 goals in a Spanish season as Barcelona and arch-rivals Real Madrid both triumphed ahead of their mouth-watering Champions League duel.

Messi reached his latest landmark when he found the target three minutes from time in his team’s 2-0 win over Osasuna as Barcelona maintained their eight-point lead in La Liga.

He had already equalled the previous best mark of 49 goals scored by Real Madrid legend Ferenc Puskas when he netted in the 1-1 draw against Real last weekend.

Now Messi has 31 goals in the league and nine in the Champions League after finishing with seven in the King’s Cup and three in the Spanish Supercup.

Earlier Saturday, Real crushed Valencia 6-3 to set the stage for Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg clash at their Bernabeu home.

In midweek, Barca’s hopes of a treble had come to an end when Real beat them 1-0 in the King’s Cup final but Coach Pep Guardiola shrugged it off saying that the league is their main priority.

However, ahead of another “clasico” in Europe, Guardiola chose to leave the likes of Messi, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta on the bench against Osasuna.

The impressive Jeffren Isaias supplied the 24th minute cross for Spain international David Villa to end one of his worst spells in front of goal when he fired passed the keeper after having gone eleven matches and two months without scoring.

In the second half Barca tightened up and substitute Messi came on to secure the three points and his place in the record books.

“It wasn’t a very strong performance from us. Osasuna are always a difficult team and we had players who don’t play that often. It was important for Villa to get his goal to boost his confidence,” said Guardiola.

Looking ahead to the game with Real he added: “If we go to the Bernabeu aiming to defend they will take advantage. We need to go and score goals even though we have problems with injuries. At the moment not many people would back us as Madrid are playing a lot better.”

A second-string Real side romped to a 6-3 win over Valencia.

Coach Jose Mourinho fielded just Iker Casillas and Ricardo Carvalho from the side which beat Barcelona in the final of the King’s Cup as he also looked to rest his players.

Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain made the most of his opportunity with a hat-trick while Brazilian star Kaka grabbed a brace.

Karim Benzema opened the scoring when the keeper failed to reach a Higuain pass and the Frenchman slotted the ball past two defenders on the line. Higuain then slipped the ball home while defender Jeremy Mathieu dawdled in possession.

Still before half time Kaka and Higuain netted from crosses with the Valencia defence again ball watching.

After the break Valencia were a little better with Higuain completing a hat-trick before Roberto Saldado finally got the home side on the score sheet.

A piece of quality from Kaka saw him finish clinically after nutmegging a defender and then Valencia gave some respectability to the scoreline with goals from Jonas Goncalves and Jordi Alba.

“We want to finish the season well and with the feeling that we are capable of winning in any stadium. Our aim is that Barca win the league with the points they pick up and not those that we give away,” said Mourinho.

“This is a competition in which we aren’t favorites but after winning a trophy, we have won well here and played spectacular football. We did our job and have had two very tough games after each other.”

Athletic Bilbao boosted their European hopes with a 2-1 win in a hard-fought Basque derby against Real Sociedad.

Bilbao are now five points clear of sixth-placed Sevilla thanks to goals from Iker Muniain and Gaizka Toquero.


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]
메시 역사를 쓴 한 골, 토레스 쑥스러운 한 골

메시, 오사수나전서 시즌 50호
스페인 한 시즌 최다 갈아치워
토레스, 이적 뒤 901분 만에 첫 골
메시(바르셀로나)와 페르난도 토레스(27·첼시)가 나란히 골을 넣었다. 그 의미가 남달랐다.

 메시는 24일(한국시간) 스페인 바르셀로나의 누 캄프에서 열린 오사수나와의 경기에서 후반 42분 쐐기골을 기록했다. 다니 알베스의 침투 패스를 받아 골 지역 오른쪽에서 오른발 슈팅을 성공시켰다. 프리메라리가(31골)와 유럽축구연맹(UEFA) 챔피언스리그(9골), 스페인 국왕컵(7골)과 스페인 수퍼컵(3골)을 포함해 메시의 올 시즌 50번째 골이었다. 이 골로 페렌츠 푸슈카시(헝가리)가 1959~60시즌 레알 마드리드에서 기록한 스페인 프로축구 한 시즌 최다골 기록(49골)을 경신했다. 유럽을 통틀어 한 시즌 최다골 기록은 독일의 게르트 뮐러가 갖고 있다. 그는 72~73 시즌 바이에른 뮌헨 소속으로 55골을 넣었다. 메시는 프리메라리가 5경기, UEFA 챔피언스리그 2경기(결승에 오를 경우 3경기) 등 최소 7경기를 남겨 놓았다. 바르셀로나는 오사수나를 2-0으로 제압했다.

 토레스는 24일 영국 런던의 스탬퍼드 브리지에서 벌어진 웨스트햄과의 홈 경기에서 후반 39분 골 지역 정면에서 왼발 터닝 슈팅을 터뜨렸다. 지난 2월 리버풀에서 첼시로 이적한 뒤 14경기 만이자 901분 만에 터진 골이었다. 4만여 명의 홈팬은 기립박수를 보냈고, 동료들도 모두 달려와 축하했다. 토레스는 “첫 골을 기다려 준 동료들과 홈팬에게 감사한다”고 소감을 말했다. 토레스는 프리미어리그 역사상 최고액인 5000만 파운드(약 897억원)의 이적료를 기록하며 첼시로 이적했다. 하지만 이적 후 한 골도 넣지 못해 ‘먹튀’라는 비난을 받던 터였다. 첼시는 웨스트햄에 3-0으로 이겼다.
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