» Sports » PIX: Messi powers Barcelona to big win; Leicester down West Brom

PIX: Messi powers Barcelona to big win; Leicester down West Brom

April 23, 2021 09:29 IST
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IMAGE: Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring the first goal Barcelona against Getafe CF at Camp Nou on Thursday. Photograph: Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona crushed Getafe 5-2 on Thursday to stay in the hunt for the La Liga title.


Messi gave Barca an early lead with the help of a pin-point pass from Sergio Busquets but Getafe pulled level with an own goal by Clement Lenglet.

The visitors then conceded a calamitous own goal when Sofian Chakla's backpass deceived keeper David Soria and trickled over the line.

Messi extended Barca's lead before halftime, hitting the post then following up to net from a tight angle and to move on to 25 La Liga goals for the 12th season in a row.

But the Catalans slowed down in the second half and Turkish forward Enes Unal made for an exciting finish by converting a penalty in the 69th minute following a VAR review for a foul by Ronald Araujo.

Getafe had a couple of half-chances to level but Uruguayan defender Araujo made amends for his foul on Unal by heading in Messi's corner in the 87th minute to effectively kill the game.

IMAGE: Lionel Messi scores the second goal for Barcelona. Photograph: Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Barca earned a penalty in added time but Messi surrendered the chance to score a hat-trick and handed the ball to Antoine Griezmann who slammed in the spot-kick.

The win took Barca back up to third place on 68 points, five behind leaders Atletico Madrid but with a game in hand.

"It was a very strange game but the team knew how to get the job done and win which is the important thing," said Araujo.

"We suffered a little bit in the second half, we could have been more comfortable. Every game we have left is like a final and every team will give everything."

Getafe gave Koeman's side a guard of honour for their recent Copa del Rey triumph but the visitors also wore T-shirts saying "Earn It", criticising Barcelona's decision to sign up to the breakaway European Super League.

"The news had a big impact on me, any clubs want to compete in Europe and we want to earn it on the pitch," said Getafe's Angel Rodriguez.

"We're a humble club who played in the Europa League so obviously I'm totally against it."

Iheanacho extends scoring run as Leicester beat West Brom

IMAGE: Leicester City's players celebrate after Jonny Evans scored the second goal against West Bromwich Albion at The King Power Stadium. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Red-hot striker Kelechi Iheanacho scored an 11th goal in his last eight games in all competitions as Leicester City poured more misery on woeful West Bromwich Albion with an emphatic 3-0 Premier League win at the King Power Stadium on Thursday.

Jamie Vardy and Jonny Evans were also on target for the home side, who stayed third on 59 points from 32 games, four clear of fourth-placed Chelsea and West Ham United and on course for Champions League qualification.

Second-bottom West Brom look as though they will be playing Championship football next season having been unable to make up ground on those above of them. They are nine points from the safety zone with six matches remaining.

FA Cup finalists Leicester did the hard work in the first half with a performance full of pace and guile, one that earns them a first Premier League win since a 5-0 home success against Sheffield United in mid-March.

"It was a good win, any win is a big win. Our intensity was really good in the first half hour. I wasn't happy at half time as our passing wasn't good enough," Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers told BT Sport.

"I am not thinking about the other teams, we have to think about ourselves. We can only control ourselves."

The home side hit the front midway through the first half as Youri Tielemans' pinpoint through-ball put Timothy Castagne in acres of space and he teed up Vardy for an easy finish.

Leicester added a second three minutes later as the visitors stood static at a corner. The ball deflected off West Brom midfielder Matt Phillips and perfectly into the path of Evans, who headed home.

The away side were reeling, and it was almost 3-0 when Castagne's low drive crashed back off the post. The Belgian was again afforded far too much time and space by a defence in disarray.

It seemed only a matter of time before Leicester would score again and Vardy's burst into the box was coolly finished by Iheanacho for a 3-0 halftime lead.

The second half lacked the intensity of the opening period as West Brom performed a damage limitation exercise and Leicester seemed content to simply hold on to their sizeable advantage.

"In the end we thoroughly deserved to get beat. It was great pressure from Leicester that forced us into so many mistakes," West Brom manager Sam Allardyce said.

"They are on a high, you can see why they are in the top four, they are as good as anyone in the league apart from Manchester City."

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