Thursday 18 July 2019

Messi extends scoring burst to clinch derby spoils for Barca

Barcelona's Lionel Messi. Photo: Reuters
Barcelona's Lionel Messi. Photo: Reuters

Jamie Holland

Lionel Messi scored for a sixth consecutive La Liga game as champions Barcelona beat 10-man Girona 2-0 in a fiery Catalan derby to go five points clear at the top of the standings.

Messi executed a trademark chip for his 19th league goal of the season to put Barca two up, Brazilian full-back Nelson Semedo having put them ahead early in the first half with his first goal for the club.

Second-placed Atletico Madrid beat Getafe 2-0 before completing some work in the transfer window.

Gelson Martins departed for Monaco, while Alvaro Morata completed his medical ahead of his loan move from Chelsea, returning to the club where he started his career.

Gareth Bale was on the mark as Real Madrid beat Espanol 4-2 despite having Raphael Varane sent off, while Sevilla hammered Levante 5-0 - their first win in five league games - with all the goals coming in the second half.

Penalty Cristiano Ronaldo converted an 88th-minute penalty as Juventus avoided their first Serie A defeat of the season with a come-from-behind 2-1 win away at Lazio.

The four early kick-offs provided no fewer than 22 goals, with Roma having to settle for a draw with Atalanta after throwing away a three-goal lead.

In France, PSG - again without Neymar, who seems certain to miss their Champions League clash with Manchester United - retained their unbeaten record with a 4-1 win over Rennes. Struggling Monaco lost again, going down 2-0 to Dijon.

In Germany's Bundesliga, the top two both enjoyed high-scoring wins over struggling opposition.

Bayern Munich thumped Stuttgart 4-1 to keep pace with leaders Borussia Dortmund, who thrashed Hannover 5-1.

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