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La Liga wrap: Messi does it again as Malaga impress

Lionel Messi scored his 300th and 301st goals for Barcelona in a 2-1 win over Granada, while Malaga also won in La Liga action on Saturday.

Lionel Messi scored his 300th and 301st goals for Barcelona in a 2-1 win over Granada, while Malaga also won in La Liga action on Saturday.

The Argentine’s match-winning double also extended his scoring streak to 14 consecutive games, but it was far from an easy outing against Granada, who deservedly opened the scoring through Ighalo to end the first half with the lead.

But Barca would hit back in a dominant second half, as Messi turned home a rebound five minutes after the restart, before clinching the win with a free-kick in the 73rd minute to provisionally extend the his side’s lead at the top of the table to 15 points over second-placed Atletico Madrid.

With one eye firmly on the midweek trip to Italy, Jordi Roura opted to rest Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol and Jordi Alba, with Alexis Sanchez, Javier Mascherano and Adriano stepping into the side.

Granada certainly were not fazed by the reputation of their opponents, and threatened themselves when Nolito forced Victor Valdes to save low after getting to the end of Ighalo’s testing cross.

And with 26 minutes on the clock, the pair would combine once again to open the scoring. Nolito this time played the role of provider, taking advantage of Barca’s hesitancy to clear a cross by squaring for Ighalo, who stroked home from yards out.

The Catalans, despite dominating the ball, were struggling to break down the opposition defence, but Adriano went close to an instant response when his swerving shot from the corner of the box flew just off target.

However, five minutes into the second half, Barcelona were right back into the match. Cesc Fabregas’ shot caught the defence, and Tono by surprise, and the ball was parried back into the path of Messi, who slotted home his milestone goal.

The winner would come with 17 minutes to go, and it was no surprise to see Messi at the fore again, the Argentine this time converting straight from a free-kick 25 yards from goal.

Meanwhile, Malaga maintained their grip on fourth place in the league with a 1-0 triumph at home against Athletic Bilbao.

Javier Saviola’s first half strike was enough for Malaga, who moved five points clear of Valencia in fifth with the triumph.

In the other match on Saturday, Getafe beat Celta Vigo 3-1.

More to follow…

Sat 16 Feb, 2013
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