Football: Barcelona FC wins as Messi overtakes Pele in League goals
Lionel Messi’s twin goal saved Barcelona as they survived a second-half surge at Mallorca to win 4-2 and strengthen their position at the top of La Liga on Sunday. Xavi Hernandez, Messi and Cristian Tello all got first-half goals for t...
Xavi Hernandez, Messi and Cristian Tello all got first-half goals for the Barcelona based champions before Victor Casadesus and Michael Pereira reduced the lead just after the half time.
The record was to be made and it did happen, as Lionel Messi hit his fifteenth goal in the League to wrap up the game and make it 76 goals now in 2012, beating Legendary Pele’s tally of 75 from 1958. The Barca star is now only nine short of the all-time record of 85 goals by Gerd Muller in 1972.
The win increases Barca’s lead to six points at the top, ahead of games for Atletico and Real Madrid, who sit second and third respectively.
Earlier Barcelona came up with five changes from the side that had lost 2-1 to Celtic in the Champions League on Wednesday, with Gerard Pique, Cesc Fabregas, Sergio Busquets, David Villa and Tello all starting. The visitors seemed to be under pressure and began slowly and Mallorca enjoyed the better early chances and gained grounds.
Barca keeper Valdes seemed to be busy at start and did quite well in saving a certain header from Israeli international Tomer Hemed at 22 minutes.
As time elapsed, Barca started their attack and gained confidence when Spaniard Xavi Alonso smacked a perfect free-kick over the defensive wall after Jose Luis Marti fouled Fabregas on the left edge of the area. Barca started to attack and were on top now and looked to add to their lead and did so at 43 minutes when Argentine hero Messi went on a run and hit a well-struck shot though Dudu Aouate in the Mallorca goal, who should have done better than allow the ball to squirm out of his hands and into the net.
A minute later, Tello controlled a pass on the left-wing before cutting inside and unleashing a right-footed drive that went across Aouate and into the far corner.
At half-time suddenly, a confident Barcelona had a three-goal buffer and were leading 3-0.
Mallorca came back strongly and Michael Pereira converted a right wing cross to reduce the lead to 3-1 in the 55th minute.
The celebrations were not just over when yet another goal came as a shock to Barcelona when Busquets’ outstretched hand made enough contact with the ball for the referee to award a penalty that Casadesus converted to reduce the arrears to 3-2.
Mallorca rallied without really causing too much trouble before Barcelona’s savior, Lionel Messi, smashed home his second goal in the 76th minute to make the game safe after Alexis Sanchez had cleverly chested a cross into his path and Barcelona won 4-2.
Earlier on Sunday, Athletic Bilbao battled to a hard-fought 2-1 win over Sevilla despite finishing the game with ten men. Oscar de Marcos put Bilbao ahead on 27 minutes, side-footing home a cross from Jon Aurtenetxe before Markel Susaeta doubled the lead just before the interval.
Ander Herrera received his marching orders for a second caution with fifteen minutes remaining, and Alvaro Negredo struck a penalty four minutes later to give the away side some hope. However, Bilbao held on to claim the win that moves them to within a point of Sevilla, who have 15, in the mid-table.
Also on 15 points are Valladolid and Valencia, who drew 1-1 with Ali Cissokho in the thick of the action. Valencia’s French full-back opened the scoring in the first-half but then received a straight red for a trip in the area on Omar Ramos.
Victor Perez converted the penalty for a share of the points.