La Liga: Messi nets two amazing goals; Atleti continues to solidify title run

Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

Even in a down year for Barcelona, with La Liga’s crown likely headed for Atletico Madrid’s head, there is a constant.

That constant is Lionel Messi.

The Barcelona wizard scored two more wonderful goals and added an assist in Saturday’s 5-1 demolition of Alaves, the Blaugranas bouncing back from a midweek Copa del Rey exit with a big win at the Camp Nou.

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Messi now has 15 goals this season, one shy of Atletico Madrid’s Luis Suarez, and his 14.39 expected goals and 5.93 expected assists continue to lead La Liga.

Barcelona moved back into second place on La Liga’s table with 46 points, level with Real Madrid but eight points back of Atleti, who has also played one fewer match.

Both goals are arrows, but Catalonia’s Robin Hood showed the diversity in his arsenal with the shots.

Barca led 1-0 on the first of two Francisco Trincao goals and Messi had a goal taken off the board by VAR when he made it 2-0 in first-half stoppage.

Messi gets the ball from old pal Sergio Busquets and drives into space before whipping a vicious effort that pinged off the inside of the near post and inside the far side netting.

Then came the second.

This one was less vicious and more placement, Alaves goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco rooted to his spot as Messi lofted a ball into the upper 90.

Junior Firpo scored Barca’s other goal and Antoine Griezmann had two assists in the win. USMNT back Sergino Dest made his return from injury with 18 minutes off the bench.

Here’s that second Messi goal.

Granada 1-2 Atletico Madrid

Marcos Llorente had a goal and set up Angel Correa for another after Man City loanee Yangel Herrera struck a 66th-minute equalizer for the hosts as all the goals came in a 13-minute stretch.

Granada fails to get within distance of the top six with this loss.

Sevilla 1-0 Huesca

Munir El Haddadi scored the lone goal with his 57th-minute strike, as Julen Lopetegui’s men are just a point back of Barca and Real Madrid.

Eibar 1-1 Real Valladolid

The 17th- and 18th- place teams entered the day level on points and exit it that way.

All the goals came in the first 23 minutes, as Roque Mesa’s penalty for the visitors was offset by Kike’s 23rd-minute goal for Eibar.