Saturday 25 November 2017

Messi on double as Three Amigos hit century

Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates scoring their second goal Photo: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates scoring their second goal Photo: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Jamie Holland

Lionel Messi scored twice to help Barcelona secure a 4-0 victory at Eibar that brought up 100 goals for their lethal strikeforce.

Munir El Haddadi, who was standing in for the suspended Neymar, tapped in the first early on, before Messi's double, while Luis Suarez completed the rout.

Messi (35 goals), Suarez (42) and Neymar (23) have now scored a century of goals between them in all competitions this season.

Yesterday's victory enable Barca to extend their Spanish record unbeaten run to 36 matches, which has included 30 wins. They have not lost since October 3.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane hailed Cristiano Ronaldo as "unique" after the Portuguese scored four goals in their 7-1 thrashing of Celta Vigo.

Ronaldo is now the second highest top scorer in Primera Division history, his 252 goals in 228 matches taking him ahead of the late Athletic Bilbao striker Telmo Zarra. He now trails only Lionel Messi, who has 304 goals to his credit.

The 31-year-old was booed at the start of the match by Madrid fans a week after criticising his team-mates following defeat to local rivals Atletico Madrid, but Zidane had only praise for him.

"Cristiano is unique - only he can strike a ball like he does," Zidane said. "I used to be good at taking shots but I took them from closer to the goal, and I never scored four goals in a game.

"I care more about his performance (than the boos). Booing is part of football, and the fans were not just booing Cristiano. They are a demanding set of fans, they want more from their players, but that's a good thing."

Zidane also praised Gareth Bale, who scored on his first appearance since injuring a hamstring on January 17. He said: "I thought he looked good, he was happy about returning and pleased with his performance. He's ready to play now, but we'll see how he is tomorrow."

Goals by Andrea Barzagli and Mario Lemina propelled Juventus to a 2-0 win at Atalanta Bergamo and allowed them to restore their three-point advantage at the top of Serie A.

With 10 games remaining Juventus moved to 64 points, three ahead of second-place Napoli, who defeated Chievo 3-1 on Saturday.

Massimiliano Allegri's side were eager to rediscover their winning form against Atalanta after being humbled 3-0 by Inter Milan in their Italian Cup semi-final second leg on Wednesday, although they did advance to the final on penalties.

They took the lead in the 24th minute when Barzagli finished smartly. Midfielder Lemina sealed Juve's win in the 86th minute.

AC Milan's 12-game unbeaten run in all competitions ended when they fell to a 2-0 defeat at Sassuolo.

Alfred Duncan slammed home a thunderous effort from the edge of the area in the 27th minute and Nicola Sansone added the second.

Milan coach Sinisa Mihajlovic was sent to the stands for dissent, while Sassuolo lost Gregoire Defrel to a second yellow card.

"The defeat is annoying, but nothing is lost," Mihajlovic said.

"I am furious with my players and with the referee."

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