Sunday, February 25, 2018 | ePaper

Messi stars with brace as Barcelona cruise past Celta Vigo

  • Print


FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi (second left) duels for the ball against Celta de Vigo's Jonny Castro (left) during the Spanish Copa del Rey round of 16 second leg soccer match between FC Barcelona and Celta de Vigo at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spa

Agency :
Lionel Messi scored twice as holders Barcelona cruised into the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey with a 5-0 victory over Celta Vigo at the Camp Nou on Thursday night.
The tie was delicately poised at 1-1 after a first leg in which Celta played extremely well against, admittedly, an under-strength Barca team but Ernesto Valverde recalled the likes of Jordi Alba, Andres Iniesta, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi for the return match and the Catalans blitzed their opponents with an utterly dominant first-half display.
Messi scored two quick goals and then set up Alba before Suarez netted the fourth goal with just 31 minutes on the clock.
Barcelona took their foot off the pedal in the second half and Ivan Rakitic completed the scoring three minutes from time.
Celta followed up their impressive performance in the first leg with another excellent showing at the weekend to draw against Real Madrid. It was always going to be a big ask for a third high-intensity display in a week and they looked off the pace from the beginning.
Messi almost got in behind the Celta defence on two occasions early on but each time the visitors managed to scramble the ball clear. The Argentina international then worked goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez with a shot from the edge of the area.
It would not be long before he was on the scoresheet, though. Alba did well down the left and put a low cross into the box which Suarez left for Messi to sweep home after 13 minutes. Two minutes later the same combination linked up again as Messi poked home another Alba cross.
A last-ditch block denied Iniesta a goal after he was set up by a delightful back-heel by Messi. Having been teed-up by Alba for both his goals, the five-time FIFA Player of the Year returned the favour in the 28th minute with a lovely curling pass and the attacking full-back got to the ball before Sergio to prod it into the net.
Suarez soon got in on the act as he capitalised on a dreadful mistake by Pione Sisto, who attempted to pass the ball back to his goalkeeper. Suarez was on to it quickly and blasted in the fourth goal.
New signing Philippe Coutinho was seen to be enjoying the show as he watched from the stands. The €160 million Brazilian is not expected to be available for around three weeks because of a thigh injury but he must be licking his lips at the prospect of getting out on the pitch with his teammates.
Having inflicted such damage during the first half, Barcelona took their foot off the gas after the break. Messi and Iniesta were replaced either side of the hour mark but the hosts remained a threat and Suarez was not too far away with a volley.
Two substitutes Jose Arniaz and Ousmane Dembele linked up nicely midway through the second half and Arniaz sent a shot into the side netting.
Suarez almost scored a stunning goal when he attempted to chip Sergio from way out before Rakitic rounded off the rout with a header from a Dembele corner after 87 minutes.

More News For this Category

Russian bobsledder Sergeeva leaves Olympic village after found guilty of doping

TASS, Pyeongchang  :Russian bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva has given her credentials for participation and left the Olympic village on suspicion of anti-doping rules violation at the 2018 Olympic Games, press officer

Mr Dhaka, Master Dhaka Open Bodybuilding to begin on March 2

Sports Reporter  :The three-day long Walton BABF Mr Dhaka, Master Dhaka Open Bodybuilding Competitions will begin at the conference room in the National Sports Council on March 2. The weight-taking

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a hockey event with Hayley Wickenheiser (not pictured) and the Indian women's national ice hockey team at the Canadian High Commission of Canada in New Delhi, India on Saturday.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a hockey event with Hayley Wickenheiser (not pictured) and the Indian women's national ice hockey team at the Canadian High Commission of Canada in New Delhi, India on Saturday.

Air Officer Commanding of BAF Base Bashar Air Vice Marshal Ehsanul Gani Choudhury handing over the trophy to the winners of the Annual Sports Competition of the BAF Shaheen English Medium School (SEMS) at the School premises in the city on Saturday.

Air Officer Commanding of BAF Base Bashar Air Vice Marshal Ehsanul Gani Choudhury handing over the trophy to the winners of the Annual Sports Competition of the BAF Shaheen English Medium School (SEMS) at the School premises in the city on Saturday.

Canada's Toutant wins first Olympic big air gold

AFP, Pyeongchang :Canada's Sebastien Toutant bounced back from last place in the slopestyle to win the first ever snowboard big air Olympic title on Saturday in Pyeongchang, in front of

Thai star Srisaket set to shine in 2018

AFP, Los Angeles :Thai dynamo Srisaket Sor Rungvisai is ready to back up his spectacular 2017, starting with a defense of his World Boxing Council super flyweight world title against

Germany seek their own 'Miracle on Ice' against Russians

AFP, Gangneung :Nearly 40 years after the United States stunned the Soviet Union in the 1980 Miracle on Ice, a gritty German squad is trying for their own "Wunder auf

Medalists in the women's parallel giant slalom (from left) Germany's Selina Joerg (silver), the Czech Republic's Ester Ledecka (gold) and Germany's Ramona Theresia Hofmeister (bronze) pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Saturday.

Medalists in the women's parallel giant slalom (from left) Germany's Selina Joerg (silver), the Czech Republic's Ester Ledecka (gold) and Germany's Ramona Theresia Hofmeister (bronze) pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Saturday.

Medalist in the men's parallel giant slalom (from right) South Korea's Lee Sangho (silver), Switzerland's Nevin Galmarini (gold) and Slovenia's Zan Kosir (bronze) pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Saturday.

Medalist in the men's parallel giant slalom (from right) South Korea's Lee Sangho (silver), Switzerland's Nevin Galmarini (gold) and Slovenia's Zan Kosir (bronze) pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Saturday.

Holdener guides Swiss to Olympic team gold

Wendy Holdener led a strong Switzerland team to a 3-1 victory over an Austrian quartet missing double gold medallist Marcel Hirscher for gold in the inaugural alpine team event on