Messi hits two more to reach glorious 50

 

Lionel Messi's astonishing recent goal glut continued last night when he struck twice in a 2-0 win for Barcelona at struggling Racing Santander that trimmed Real Madrid's lead at the top of La Liga back to 10 points.

The Argentine World Player of the Year took his tally to 13 goals in his last five games for Barça, including a record five in Wednesday's Champions League match against Bayer Leverkusen.

Real had to come from a goal down to beat Real Betis 3-2 in Seville on Saturday when Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice and they set a club record of 10 successive wins on the road in coach Jose Mourinho's 100th game in charge.

"We had to put in a lot of effort," the Barça coach, Pep Guardiola, said after his side saw off Racing at El Sardinero.

"We did things well on a pitch that did not help the circulation of the ball," he added, in a reference to the poor state of the playing surface. "They put nine men behind the ball and that is never easy."

Messi put Barça ahead in the 29th minute when he slid in to turn a Cesc Fabregas centre into the net from close range. He doubled the lead with a 56th-minute penalty following a foul on Fabregas, his 30th goal of the campaign in the league, leaving him two behind top scorer Ronaldo, and his 50th in all competitions this season.

Winger Isaac Cuenca went close to a third, striking a powerful shot that cannoned back off a post, before Racing goalkeeper Mario Fernandez denied Messi a hat-trick with a fine save from the 24-year-old's rasping drive.

In Italy, Juventus hit the woodwork three times and had a goal controversially disallowed as they were held 0-0 at Genoa yesterday, their sixth draw in their last seven Serie A games.

Mirko Vucinic hit the crossbar and post with headers early in the second half, then Simone Pepe fired against the foot of the post before having a goal ruled out for offside as they lost more ground on leaders Milan.

The Rossoneri took full advantage with a 2-0 win at home to Lecce which took them four points clear of second-placed Juventus, who remain unbeaten after 27 games. Antonio Nocerino and Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored in each half for the defending champions.

In France, Ligue 1 leaders Paris St-Germain overcame Mohamed Sissoko's first-half dismissal to snatch a 2-1 win at lowly Dijon thanks to Kevin Gameiro's late goal.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea