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Rediff.com  » Sports » La Liga: Another record for Messi as he nets four agianst Osasuna

La Liga: Another record for Messi as he nets four agianst Osasuna

January 28, 2013 11:34 IST

Lionel Messi hit four goals for leaders Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed a hat-trick for Real Madrid as the two teams warmed up for their midweek King's Cup semi-final clash with crushing La Liga victories on Sunday.

Messi took his league tally in 21 games this season to an incredible 33, and to 202 overall, in Barca's 5-1 win at home to 10-man Osasuna while Ronaldo passed 300 club goals and now has 21 this term as Real thumped Getafe 4-0 at the Bernabeu.

- La Liga: Hat-trick man Ronaldo passes 300 goals for Madrid

Getafe, who beat Real 2-1 at their Coliseum stadium earlier in the season but whose form has dipped in recent weeks, are 11th on 26 points, one ahead of Bilbao.

Barcelona'S Lionel Messi (centre) celebrates with teammates Xavi Hernandez (left) and Carles Puyol after scoring the opening goal against Osasuna during their La Liga match on January SundayBarca's return to winning ways after last weekend's 3-2 reverse at Real Sociedad, their first defeat of the campaign, put them 11 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid who lost 3-0 at Athletic Bilbao.

Champions Real, whose hopes of a second straight title are effectively over with 17 matches to go, are four points behind Atletico in third spot.

Malaga reclaimed Spain's fourth Champions League qualification berth from Andalusian rivals Real Betis when the Qatar-owned club survived the second-half dismissal of Martin Demichelis to win 3-2 at struggling Real Mallorca.

Malaga have 35 points, eight behind Real, and lead Betis on goal difference. Rayo Vallecano continued to defy their modest status and are a point behind Betis in sixth place after they beat the Seville-based side 3-0.

World Player of the Year Messi became the first player to score on 11 successive La Liga matchdays and, at 25, the youngest to reach 200 league goals.

He has scored more goals on his own than all the other La Liga teams apart from Real and Atletico and is on course to smash the record for the most in a season (50) he set last term.

The Argentina forward opened the scoring in the 11th minute at the Nou Camp when he was sent clear in the penalty area by a pinpoint Xavi pass.

Messi cleverly waited for Osasuna goalkeeper Andres Fernandez to go to ground before walking the ball into the net.

The visitors, who are third from bottom on 18 points, equalised in the 24th minute through midfielder Raoul Loe but their chances of causing an upset were ended when Alejandro Arribas was shown a second yellow card three minutes later.

Defender Arribas handled in the penalty area and Messi hammered the ball home from the spot before Daniel Alves unselfishly set up Pedro to tap in Barca's third goal five minutes before the break.

Messi, who also headed against the post in the first half, completed his hat-trick in the 56th minute and grabbed a fourth goal two minutes later.

“The important thing was to get through the match because when so much is being said about the 'Clasico' (against Real) it's not easy,” Messi said.

“We came out the same way as always and we achieved our goal.”

Barca's interim coach Jordi Roura, standing in for Tito Vilanova who is recovering after throat surgery, also rested Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas, the latter only coming on for Xavi late in the game.

Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

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