Lionel Messi again reaches 25 league goals as Barcelona beat Athletic
Barcelona 2 - 0 Athletic

Lionel Messi again reaches 25 league goals as Barcelona beat Athletic

19/03/2018

Lionel Messi scored for the sixth consecutive game in all competitions as Barcelona tightened their grip in the title race with a 2-0 La Liga win over Athletic Bilbao.

Messi reached 25 league goals for the ninth consecutive season and took his tally in all competitions to 38 with a fine finish from the edge of the penalty area.

Paco Alcacer had already given the hosts the lead at the Camp Nou, and the leaders went on to canter to a routine victory against an Athletic side grateful they were not more soundly beaten.

Barca were missing Luis Suarez through suspension but the Uruguay striker's absence did not seem to affect them too much.

They took the lead after only eight minutes, with Messi predictably at the heart of the move.

The Argentina international, fresh from his two goals in the Champions League win over Chelsea on Wednesday, danced his way into the area before laying the ball off to Jordi Alba.

Alba reached the byline before cutting the ball back to Alcacer, who was left with a simple side-foot finish past Athletic goalkeeper Kepa.

Philippe Coutinho was inches from doubling the hosts' lead moments later when he met another Alba cut-back with a volley that crashed back off the crossbar.

Messi had already had a couple of sighters when he got on the scoresheet on the half-hour mark.

Ousmane Dembele picked out his strike partner, who had been left unmarked lurking on the edge of the penalty area, and Messi punished the visitors by drilling the ball unerringly into the bottom corner.

Coutinho was denied by the woodwork again before half-time when his lob grazed the crossbar.

The second half was played at almost a testimonial pace with Barcelona content to knock the ball around at their leisure.

Barca seemed to react to the crowd urging them forward and Messi tried his luck from the edge of the box again, but this time Kepa was able to hold his deflected effort.

Nevertheless, Barca were never in danger of losing their unbeaten record this season as boss Ernesto Valverde masterminded a comfortable victory against his former club.

Related news

Suarez scores twice as Barcelona thrash Sevilla in the Copa del Rey

Suarez scores twice as Barcelona thrash Sevilla in the Copa del Rey

Barcelona won their fourth successive Copa del Rey with a merciless 5-0 thrashing of Sevilla as departing hero Andres Iniesta joined the usual suspects on the scoresheet.

Atletico Madrid suffer lopsided defeat at Real Sociedad

Atletico Madrid suffer lopsided defeat at Real Sociedad

Substitute Juanmi struck twice to dent Atletico Madrid's hopes of a top-two La Liga finish as they went down 3-0 at Real Sociedad.

Late Cristiano Ronaldo goal rescues point for Real Madrid against Athletic Bilbao

Late Cristiano Ronaldo goal rescues point for Real Madrid against Athletic Bilbao

Cristiano Ronaldo scored an exquisite back-heel to rescue a point for Real Madrid in their 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday.

Barcelona settle for draw at Celta Vigo after Sergi Roberto sent off

Barcelona settle for draw at Celta Vigo after Sergi Roberto sent off

Barcelona's charge towards the La Liga title was held up after a much-changed side was held to a 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo, where Sergi Roberto was sent off with his side's first league red card in over a year.

Isco and Casemiro help Real Madrid past Malaga, close gap on Atletico

Isco and Casemiro help Real Madrid past Malaga, close gap on Atletico

A much-changed Real Madrid edged past basement club Malaga 2-1 to leapfrog Valencia into third place in LaLiga.

Atletico Madrid cruise past Levante, strengthen hold on second place

Atletico Madrid cruise past Levante, strengthen hold on second place

Atletico Madrid eased to a 3-0 win at home over Levante to strengthen their hold on second place in La Liga on Sunday.

Barcelona beat Valencia to set new La Liga record unbeaten streak

Barcelona beat Valencia to set new La Liga record unbeaten streak

Barcelona broke a 38-year-old La Liga record on Saturday as they extended their unbeaten streak in Spain's top flight to 39 games by beating Valencia 2-1 at the Camp Nou.

Antoine Griezmann salvages point in Madrid derbi at Bernabeu

Antoine Griezmann salvages point in Madrid derbi at Bernabeu

Real Madrid had to settle for a 1-1 draw at home to city rivals Atletico as Antoine Griezmann struck to cancel out Cristiano Ronaldo's opening goal.

Barcelona tie La Liga record as Lionel Messi hat trick downs Leganes

Barcelona tie La Liga record as Lionel Messi hat trick downs Leganes

Lionel Messi fired a hat trick as Barcelona took another big step towards the La Liga title with a 3-1 home win against Leganes.

RELATED NEWS

Suarez scores twice as Barcelona thrash Sevilla in the Copa del Rey
Sevilla 0 - 5 Barcelona

Suarez scores twice as Barcelona thrash Sevilla in the Copa del Rey

Barcelona won their fourth successive Copa del Rey with a merciless 5-0 thrashing of Sevilla as departing hero Andres Iniesta joined the usual suspects on the scoresheet.

Atletico Madrid suffer lopsided defeat at Real Sociedad
Real Sociedad 3 - 0 Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid suffer lopsided defeat at Real Sociedad

Substitute Juanmi struck twice to dent Atletico Madrid's hopes of a top-two La Liga finish as they went down 3-0 at Real Sociedad.

Late Cristiano Ronaldo goal rescues point for Real Madrid against Athletic Bilbao
Real Madrid 1 - 1 Athletic Bilbao

Late Cristiano Ronaldo goal rescues point for Real Madrid against Athletic Bilbao

Cristiano Ronaldo scored an exquisite back-heel to rescue a point for Real Madrid in their 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday.

Barcelona settle for draw at Celta Vigo after Sergi Roberto sent off
Celta Vigo 2 - 2 Barcelona

Barcelona settle for draw at Celta Vigo after Sergi Roberto sent off

Barcelona's charge towards the La Liga title was held up after a much-changed side was held to a 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo, where Sergi Roberto was sent off with his side's first league red card in over a year.

Isco and Casemiro help Real Madrid past Malaga, close gap on Atletico
Malaga 1 - 2 Real Madrid

Isco and Casemiro help Real Madrid past Malaga, close gap on Atletico

A much-changed Real Madrid edged past basement club Malaga 2-1 to leapfrog Valencia into third place in LaLiga.

Atletico Madrid cruise past Levante, strengthen hold on second place
Atletico Madrid 3 - 0 Levante

Atletico Madrid cruise past Levante, strengthen hold on second place

Atletico Madrid eased to a 3-0 win at home over Levante to strengthen their hold on second place in La Liga on Sunday.

Barcelona beat Valencia to set new La Liga record unbeaten streak
Barcelona 2 - 1 Valencia

Barcelona beat Valencia to set new La Liga record unbeaten streak

Barcelona broke a 38-year-old La Liga record on Saturday as they extended their unbeaten streak in Spain's top flight to 39 games by beating Valencia 2-1 at the Camp Nou.

Antoine Griezmann salvages point in Madrid derbi at Bernabeu
Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico Madrid

Antoine Griezmann salvages point in Madrid derbi at Bernabeu

Real Madrid had to settle for a 1-1 draw at home to city rivals Atletico as Antoine Griezmann struck to cancel out Cristiano Ronaldo's opening goal.

Barcelona tie La Liga record as Lionel Messi hat trick downs Leganes
Barcelona 3 - 1 Leganes

Barcelona tie La Liga record as Lionel Messi hat trick downs Leganes

Lionel Messi fired a hat trick as Barcelona took another big step towards the La Liga title with a 3-1 home win against Leganes.