Messi makes it 301 not out
A double blast by Lionel Messi took his La Liga goals tally to 301 as he powered Barcelona to a 3-1 win at Sporting Gijon that sent them six points clear at the top of the table last night.
Luis Suarez missed a second-half penalty but made amends soon after by scoring the third goal to take his tally in all competitions to 40 this season. The match at El Molinon was originally due to be played in December but had to be switched because of Barca's involvement in the Club World Cup.
Barca now have 60 points from 24 matches, six more than second-placed Atletico Madrid and seven ahead of Real Madrid. Messi grabbed his landmark 300th La Liga goal in the 25th minute when he cut past two defenders on the edge of the box and hit a left-foot shot into the bottom corner.
The lead lasted two minutes before Gijon launched a fast counter-attack as Pablo Perez passed to Alex Menendez and his low cross was turned home by Carlos Castro. Messi restored Barca's lead just past the half hour when set up by Suarez.
Neymar was awarded a 62nd-minute spot-kick when he was brought down by Ivan Cuellar but the goalkeeper saved Suarez's effort, the seventh penalty miss by a Barca player this season. Suarez atoned for the miss five minutes later, curling a fine shot in off the far post.