Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 27th 2017 Contents A34 sports
guardian.co.tt Thursday, April 27, 2017
MADRID---While Lionel Mes-
si helped Barcelona to trounce
Osasuna 7-1, Cristiano Ronaldo
was rested by title rival Real Ma-
drid in its 6-2 rout of Deportivo
La Coruna in the Spanish league
Barcelona and Madrid remain level
on 78 points at the top of the stand-
ings after their comfortable victories,
keeping the title race wide open.
Barcelona is ahead on the head-
to-head tiebreaker, but the two-time
defending champion only has four
games left, while Madrid---seeking
its first league title since 2012---has
five to play.
Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane
rested Ronaldo and several other
regular starters in La Coruna, with
a great performance by Francisco
"Isco" Alarcon and two goals by
James Rodriguez helping the team
At the Camp Nou, Messi followed
up his remarkable performance in the
"clasico" against Madrid with an-
other two goals on yesterday. An-
dre Gomes and Paco Alcacer also
scored twice for Barcelona, and Javier
Mascherano netted his first goal with
the Catalan club to complete the rout.
Messi's second goal at the Santia-
go Bernabeu Stadium on Sunday was
a last-minute winner that gave him
500 career goals with Barcelona, and
he was honoured for the milestone
before the Osasuna game, with a huge
banner displayed on the stands with
the words "Thank you Leo."
"With Messi, everything is easier,"
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said.
Messi opened the scoring with a
lob over the goalkeeper after break-
ing free from his markers and surging
into the area with only goalkeeper
Salvatore Sirigu to beat. He neatly
headed the ball down before unleash-
ing his 12th-minute strike.
Messi, who has scored 16 goals in
his last 11 league games, netted his
second with a well-placed left-foot
shot from just outside the area in the
61st, two minutes before being sub-
stituted to a standing ovation by the
crowd at the Camp Nou.
It was the 11th time this season
that Messi had scored two goals in
a league game.
"We all know about Messi's qual-
ity, about what he can add to the
team," Alcacer said. "It's a great joy
to be able to play alongside him. He
is a unique player and few have the
honour to say that they played with
Messi has scored twice in the last
five games in which he has found the
net. He is the league's leading scorer
with 33 goals, nine more than team-
mate Luis Suarez and 14 more than
Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.
Gomes scored in the 30th and 57th
minutes, and Alcacer netted in the
64th and 86th. Defender Mascher-
ano, who had yet to score after 318
matches with Barcelona, was al-
lowed to end his drought by taking
a 67th-minute penalty kick. Suarez
was rested by coach Luis Enrique in
yesterday's game. Neymar couldn't
play because of a suspension.
Osasuna, which was mathemati-
cally relegated with the loss, played in
orange-coloured shirts made specifi-
cally for the match, as its other shirts
were too similar to Barcelona's outfit.
Roberto Torres scored the team's
lone goal from a 48th-minute free
Messi leads Barca to 7-1 victory
Madrid was in control
from the start against rele-
in La Coruna, taking the lead
through Alvaro Morata in the
Rodriguez scored in the
14th and 66th minutes, Lucas
Vazquez added in the 44th, Fran-
cisco "Isco" Alarcon netted in the
77th and Casemiro rounded off
the scoring in the 87th. The hosts
scored with Florin Andone in the
35th and Joselu in the 84th.
"It was a very complete game
by the whole team," Isco said.
"One of the great things about
a club like Madrid is that it has
23 players who can be starters."
Deportivo, which has lost
eight straight games to Madrid,
including the last four at home,
stayed 16th in the 20-team
standings, only seven points
from the relegation zone.
Zidane was without the in-
jured Gareth Bale and the sus-
pended Sergio Ramos. He rested
Ronaldo, Keylor Navas, Karim
Benzema, Dani Carvajal, Toni
Kroos and Luka Modric.
Madrid faces city rival Atletico
Madrid in the Champions League
semifinals next week. (AP)
FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, right, kicks the ball to score during the Spanish
La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Osasuna at the Camp Nou
stadium in Barcelona, Spain, yesterday. AP PHOTO
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