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Messi and Suarez fire Barca five points clear


Lionel Messi. Photo: Oscar del Pozo/AFP/Getty Images

Lionel Messi. Photo: Oscar del Pozo/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Lionel Messi. Photo: Oscar del Pozo/AFP/Getty Images

Lionel Messi scored for the seventh time in four La Liga games as champions Barcelona scrapped their way to a hard-fought 2-1 win at Getafe last night that propelled them five points clear at the top of the table.

Messi gave the Catalans the lead in the 20th minute, tucking the ball into the net from a tight angle after his initial shot was saved by the legs of Getafe goalkeeper David Soria.

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez then doubled Barca's advantage in the 39th minute with a spectacular volley from outside the area, but Getafe hit back two minutes before the interval with a close-range finish from striker Jaime Mata, after a splendid team move.

Barcelona were assured of retaining top spot before kicking a ball last night, as the closest challengers to the Catalan giants, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla, played out a 1-1 draw in Seville's Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

Wissam Ben Yedder gave the home side the lead in the 27th minute before World Cup winner Antoine Griezmann equalised on the stroke of half-time.

At the other end of the table, basement club Huesca pulled off a shock 2-1 victory over high-flyers Real Betis for just their second league win of the season.

Elsewhere, French clubs returned to action over the weekend with the Coupe de France, following a two-week break.

Olympique de Marseille crashed out of the competition in sensational style yesterday when fourth-division amateurs Andrezieux beat them 2-0.

The defeat extended Marseille's win-less run to seven matches in all competitions, but they were not the only Ligue 1 side who failed to advance to the last 32.

Angers also lost to an amateur side, beaten 1-0 by Viry-Chatillon, while Nimes Olympique were hammered 3-0 by Lyon Duchere.

Irish Independent