Messi reaches 500 goals, Bale keeps Madrid top

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

LIONEL Messi scored his 500th Barcelona goal and Luis Suarez pro­vided an as­sist to save the Span­ish cham­pi­ons from a sec­ond de­feat in six days as they came from be­hind to win 2-1 at Sevilla on Novem­ber 6.

Vic­tory keeps Barca just two points adrift of Real Madrid, the 3-0 vic­tors over Le­ganes thanks to a brace from Gareth Bale.

Madrid also an­nounced yes­ter­day that Cris­tiano Ron­aldo will ex­tend his con­tract with the Euro­pean cham­pi­ons un­til 2021.

Messi in­spired a spir­ited Barca fight­back fol­low­ing a 3-1 de­feat at Manch­ester City in the Cham­pi­ons League on Novem­ber 1 af­ter a firsthalf dom­i­nated by Sevilla.

“There is no one like him and our ob­jec­tive as a team is to look for Leo as much as pos­si­ble,” Barca boss Luis Enrique told Span­ish TV sta­tion Mo­vis­tar.

“The ca­pac­ity Messi has to play in any po­si­tion and in­ter­pret what is hap­pen­ing on the field is laud­able.”

The game got off to a fran­tic start, as Sevilla re­mained on the front foot for most of the first half and got their re­ward on 15 min­utes when Pablo Sara­bia’s pass bam­boo­zled Sergi Roberto and Vi­tolo charged through to open the scor­ing.

Sara­bia passed up a great chance to make it two when he took the bizarre de­ci­sion to back­heel the ball to­ward the edge of the area when he had just Marc-An­dre ter Ste­gen to beat.

Barca made Sevilla pay with as bril­liant counter-at­tack to level two min­utes be­fore half-time, as Messi curled Ney­mar’s pass into the bot­tom cor­ner.

The goal was Messi’s 500th for Barca in­clud­ing friendlies, but he should have had more af­ter the break as only a bril­liant block from Mar­i­ano and save from Rico pre­vented the Barca cap­tain.

Messi turned the game around just af­ter the hour mark as he teed up Suarez to drill the ball low past Rico.

Rico pro­duced an in­cred­i­ble stop to pre­vent Suarez mak­ing it 3-1, but a huge er­ror from Ter Ste­gen at the other end nearly cost Barca the win as he flapped at a cor­ner and Steven N’Zonzi headed inches wide the goal gap­ing.

For Madrid, Bale rounded off a fine week af­ter sign­ing one of the most lu­cra­tive deals in foot­ball his­tory to keep him tied to Real un­til 2022.

The Welsh­man earned his bumper new wage as he struck twice in seven first-half min­utes be­fore Al­varo Mo­rata added a third 14 min­utes from time.

Bale out­sprinted the Le­ganes de­fence as he latched onto Isco’s through ball and rounded Jon An­der Ser­antes be­fore slot­ting home from a nar­row an­gle.

His sec­ond was a scrap­pier fin­ish off a loose ball from close range.

By con­trast, Ron­aldo en­dured another frus­trat­ing af­ter­noon as he was kept score­less for the fifth time in eight La Liga ap­pear­ances this sea­son and didn’t even man­age a shot on tar­get.

The Por­tuguese su­per­star has now gone five games with­out scor­ing at the Bern­abeu – his long­est drought since join­ing Real seven years ago.

Mo­rata com­pleted the scor­ing for Zi­dane’s men when he col­lected Kroos’ pass be­fore fir­ing home at the near post.

A fine day for Madrid was rounded off by the re­turn of Luka Mo­dric from in­jury and they even kept a first clean sheet in 11 matches to stretch their un­beaten run in all com­pe­ti­tions to 28 games.

Vil­lar­real moved up to third with a 2-0 win over Real Betis.

Mean­while, Va­len­cia’s strug­gles con­tin­ued as a 2-1 de­feat at Celta Vigo leaves them just a point above the rel­e­ga­tion zone. –

Photo: AFP

Barcelona for­ward Lionel Messi (left) vies with Sevilla de­fender Mar­i­ano Fer­reira dur­ing a La Liga match on Novem­ber 6. Barcelona won 2-1.

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