Saturday 16 December 2017

Irrepressible Messi scores twice on Barca return

Lionel Messi capped his long-awaited return from injury with two late goals from the subs' bench as Barcelona recorded a 4-0 win over Getafe in the Copa del Rey last 16 first leg.

Messi, who has recovered from a thigh operation in his native Argentina, replaced Andres Iniesta in the 64th minute, just after midfielder Cesc Fabregas had scored his second of the night from the penalty spot.

Messi soon found the back of the net when Sergio Busquets floated a ball to Martin Montoya, with the striker pouncing on the rebound from goalkeeper Jordi Codina.

He then added his second three minutes later in the third minute of stoppage time after he raced onto the end of Alex Song's through ball to rifle it past the Getafe 'keeper.

Fabregas, who had opened the scoring with an eighth-minute header before putting away the second from the spot in the 63rd minute after Valera brought down Pedro, had already been awarded the man of the match award before Messi's late double.

In the other games Real Betis beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0, while Segunda Division side Alcorcon saw off Espanyol 1-0. Racing Santander were held 1-1 at home by Almeria.

Irish Independent

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