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PIX: Barcelona rout Alaves to fire warning shot to PSG

Last updated on: February 14, 2021 09:53 IST

A summary of Saturday's action in La Liga, Ligue I and Bundesliga.

Lionel Messi celebrates scoring Barcelona's second goal against Alaves, at the Camp Nou, Barcelona, on Saturday.

IMAGE: Lionel Messi celebrates scoring Barcelona's second goal in the La Liga match against Alaves, at the Camp Nou, Barcelona, on Saturday. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Lionel Messi scored with two scorching strikes as Barcelona hammered Alaves 5-1 on Saturday in La Liga to warm up for their upcoming Champions League clash with Paris St Germain in style.

 

Portuguese forward Francisco Trincao put Barca in front after a cut-back from 18-year-old debutant midfielder Ilaix Moriba and Messi thought he had doubled the lead later on when knocking in on the rebound but the goal was ruled out for a marginal offside against Antoine Griezmann.

Messi then took matters in to his own hands from outside the area and thumped the ball off the far post with such venom that it landed just inside the opposite post.

Alaves's Luis Rioja pounced on a mistake by Ilaix to reduce the deficit in the second half but Barca came roaring back with a second strike from Trincao, another long-range missile from Messi and then a fifth goal crafted by Messi and Griezmann and finished off by left back Junior Firpo.

A seventh consecutive league win took Barca up to second in the standings on 46 points, eight behind leaders Atletico Madrid.

"Messi is in a fantastic moment of form," said Barca coach Ronald Koeman.

"We know how decisive he is and right now he is in the mood. With him playing in this form, everything is easier. If we want to beat PSG, we need Leo and everyone else at the top of their game."

Francisco Trincao celebrates scoring Barcelona's third goal with teammates.

IMAGE: Francisco Trincao celebrates scoring Barcelona's third goal with teammates. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Barca had suffered a painful 2-0 defeat to Sevilla in Wednesday's Copa del Rey semi-final first leg and Koeman rotated his side to make for fresher legs for Tuesday's first leg at home to PSG.

He rested Jordi Alba and started without Sergino Dest, Ousmane Dembele and Pedri but there was no rest for Messi, who unleashed a ferocious shot for his first goal.

He also sparked the move for Barca's third goal, racing on to a through ball and attempting to round keeper Fernando Pacheco, who succeeded in snuffing out Messi but could only parry the ball into the path of Trincao, who tucked it into the net.

Messi was hungry for a second goal of his own, however, and got one less than 60 seconds later, dribbling past two defenders outside the area and rattling a left-footed shot into the far corner.

Now toying with his prey, he released Griezmann with a delicious chipped pass and the Frenchman sent in a low cross for Firpo to complete the thrashing.

Koeman expressed his satisfaction with the team's performance after making several changes and said they were feeling confident ahead of Tuesday's showdown against PSG, who will be without an injured Neymar.

"We believe we can get through the tie. They have some injuries but so do we and we'll have to play very well to knock them out," added the coach.

"We have to be more efficient than ever in attack and strong in defence. I'm sure it'll be a marvellous game."

Correa strike clinches Atletico win at Granada

Atletico Madrid

IMAGE: Atletico Madrid's Angel Correa in action with Granada's Domingos Quina. Photograph: Jon Nazca/Reuters

A heavily deflected strike from Angel Correa saw La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid snatch a 2-1 victory away to Granada on Saturday to get back to winning ways and move eight points clear at the top of the standings.

Marcos Llorente put Atletico in front in the 63rd minute with a low finish from the edge of the area.

But the visitors' joy was short-lived as Venezuelan midfielder Yangel Herrera equalised for Granada three minutes later following a corner, his shot flying into the net after bouncing off Llorente's trailing leg.

Atletico appeared on course to drop points for a second consecutive game after Monday's 2-2 draw at home to Celta, which would have offered Real Madrid the chance to close the gap with them to three points if they beat Valencia on Sunday.

But Atletico regained the lead in the 75th when Argentine forward Correa tried his luck inside the box and saw his desperate attempt bounce off the foot of Granada defender Jesus Vallejo and loop over keeper Rui Silva into the net.

Diego Simeone's side moved on to 54 points after 21 games, eight clear of second-placed Real and with a game in hand.

"We knew we had to keep our composure in the area, we were creating a lot of chances and we knew the goal was going to arrive sooner or later," said match-winner Correa.

"We had drawn our last game and we wanted to get the three points against a good side, so we leave here feeling very happy because we did just that.

"All we can do is focus on ourselves and think about improving because today we conceded another goal and we have to try and stop that happening."

PSG beat Nice to go top as Barca clash looms

PSG

IMAGE: Julian Draxler celebrates scoring  Paris St Germain's first goal with Presnel Kimpembe and teammates. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

Paris St Germain geared up for their Champions League trip to Barcelona with a 2-1 home win against Nice that sent them provisionally top of the Ligue 1 standings on Saturday.

Italy striker Moise Kean netted the winner after Rony Lopes's 50th-minute goal had cancelled out Julian Draxler's opener for PSG in the first half.

The French champions are on 54 points from 25 games and lead Lille, who host Brest on Sunday, on goal difference with Olympique Lyonnais in third place on 52 points.

The result left Nice in 13th place with 29 points from 24 matches.

PSG, who face Barca in their Champions League last-16 first leg on Tuesday, were without three key players with Neymar and Angel Di Maria injured while Marco Verratti was nursing a knock he sustained in a 1-0 French Cup win at Caen on Wednesday.

The Italian was replaced by Draxler, who lived up to the task as he drove the ball home from close range after Mauro Icardi's attempt had bounced off the post into his path in the 22nd minute.

Nice, however, stepped up a gear after the break and Lopes equalised with a powerful shot under the crossbar following a rare poor clearance by Marquinhos.

The visitors went close to taking the lead on the hour but Amine Gouiri's attempt crashed against the bar.

Kean punished them in the 76th minute, heading home from point-blank range to give PSG all three points after Icardi had stretched in the air to deflect Kylian Mbappe's cross.

It was Kean's 10th goal in 17 league games.

Leverkusen squander two-goal lead in draw with Mainz

Kevin Stoger celebrates scoring Mainz 05's second goal against Bayer Leverkusen

IMAGE: Kevin Stoger celebrates scoring Mainz 05's second goal against Bayer Leverkusen. Photograph: Federico Gambarini/Reuters

Bayer Leverkusen squandered a two-goal lead, conceding twice in the last two minutes to draw 2-2 against Mainz 05 on Saturday as they inched up to fourth place in the Bundesliga table.

Goals from Robert Glatzel in the 89th minute and Kevin Stoeger's stoppage-time equaliser turned the game around for the visitors.

Leverkusen, battling for a top-four finish and a spot in the Champions League next season, had only themselves to blame after inexplicably allowing Mainz to snatch a point.

They have now won just two of their last nine league games.

"In the last minutes to concede two goals like that, it is difficult to explain," said Leverkusen's Sven Bender.

"But in a way it is what we deserved for the way we played the entire second half."

"Mainz were aggressive, they were hungry to score. Essentially we got back in the end what we did in the second half," he said.

Leverkusen were far superior in the first half, and Lucas Alario slotted in to complete a quick move launched by Moussa Diaby in the 14th minute.

Improving Mainz, who are in 17th place on 14 points, had chances of their own with Karim Onisiwo's header flying wide after clipping the post.

Substitute Patrik Schick looked to have finished off Mainz with a second goal for the hosts, who had also hit the woodwork, in the 84th but the visitors' late double strike earned a surprise point for them.

Glatzel first finished a move with a quick flick to beat substitute keeper Niklas Lomb and Stoeger benefited from a bad Bender clearance to snatch the last-gasp equaliser.

Leverkusen are fourth on 36 points, two behind VfL Wolfsburg in third place.

Late Haaland goal rescues point for Dortmund against Hoffenheim

Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland scored an 81st-minute equaliser to rescue a 2-2 draw against visitors Hoffenheim on Saturday as they lost further ground in their battle for a top-four finish.

Norway international Haaland pounced on a Hoffenheim mistake to race through and netted his 15th goal of the campaign after Hoffenheim had come from a goal down to lead 2-1.

Dortmund, who travel to Sevilla on Wednesday for their Champions League Round of 16 first leg, have managed just one win in their last six league games.

The Ruhr valley club is in sixth place on 33 points, three off fourth-placed Bayer Leverkusen, who wasted a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Mainz 05.

Eintracht Frankfurt on 36 points, and Borussia Moenchengladbach, on 32, are in action on Sunday against Cologne and VfL Wolfsburg respectively.

Hoffenheim's Ilhas Bebou twice failed in a one-on-one with Dortmund keeper Marwin Hitz as the visitors looked livelier than the hosts.

Instead it was Jadon Sancho who scored to put Dortmund in front in the 24th minute.

Dortmund's sloppy defending then allowed Munas Dabbur to slip into the box and finish a Sebastian Rudy pass for the equaliser seven minutes later.

Bebou then made amends for his earlier misses, heading in a ball that bounced off Hitz's hands onto his head as the keeper unsuccessfully attempted to clear a cross in the 51st.

Dortmund had to wait until Haaland's equaliser nine minutes from the end to rescue a point but pressure will be mounting on coach Edin Terzic who has so far failed to turn their season around following the sacking of his predecessor Lucien Favre.

Champions Bayern Munich, in top spot on 48, host Arminia Bielefeld on Monday after winning the Club World Cup on Thursday.

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