Messi scores with 3rd touch on suc­cess­ful re­turn from in­jury

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Three touches of the ball were all Lionel Messi needed to score for Barcelona yes­ter­day, show­ing that he is ready to take on his for­mer coach Pep Guardi­ola in the Cham­pi­ons League.

Messi dis­played no signs of rust af­ter more than three weeks out of ac­tion with a right groin strain and scored in­side of four min­utes af­ter com­ing on as a sec­ond-half sub­sti­tute. The Ar­gen­tine added to Barcelona's 4-0 rout of De­portivo La Coruna, fir­ing in a well-placed pass by Ney­mar in the Span­ish league match.

The con­vinc­ing win comes shortly be­fore for­mer Barcelona coach Guardi­ola comes home to Camp Nou at the helm of new club Manch­ester City for a highly an­tic­i­pated Euro­pean clash on Wed­nes­day.

"We played a great game. This is the per­fect way to ar­rive at the match against City," said Barcelona coach Luis En­rique, who calls Guardi­ola a friend.

Atletico Madrid winger Yan­nick Car­rasco scored a hat trick to keep Diego Sime­one's side at the top of the league af­ter show­ing no mercy against bot­tom-side Granada, de­spite go­ing be­hind at the start.

Car­rasco can­celled out Isaac Cuenca's stun­ning opener for Granada with an equal­izer in the 34th. The Bel­gian in­ter­na­tional struck twice more for the hosts af­ter passes by An­gel Cor­rea and An­toine Griez­mann.

Sub­sti­tute Nico­las Gai­tan net­ted two more goals be­fore Cor­rea and Ti­ago Car­doso com­pleted the 7-1 de­mo­li­tion of Granada in the de­mor­al­iz­ing de­but of coach Lu­cas Al­caraz.

SPAIN

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