Messi nets 2
Barcelona reaches Copa quarters
BARCELONA, Spain — Lionel Messi scored twice in the space of three minutes to help Barcelona to a 5-0 win over Celta Vigo on Thursday as the holders advanced to the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey.
Messi, who also created Barcelona's third goal for Jordi Alba, set his team on its way to a 6-1 aggregate victory with his 21st and 22nd goals in all competitions this season.
Alba had provided the assists for Messi's strikes in the 13th and 15th minutes, and the Barcelona star returned the favor by setting up the left back to score in the 28th.
Luis Suarez made it 4-0 before halftime, while Messi was replaced by Ousmane Dembele before the hour mark. Ivan Rakitic headed in a corner kick by Dembele in the final minutes to complete the rout.
New signing Philippe Coutinho watched from the Camp Nou stands following his club-record transfer from Liverpool earlier this week. The Brazil midfielder will make his debut after he recovers from a right leg muscle injury.
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde took no chances after the 1-1 draw in the first leg, starting Messi in his first appearance in the competition this season after resting the Argentina forward for the first three cup games.AP
MESSI BRACE. FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring during the Spanish Copa del Rey round of 16 second leg soccer match between FC Barcelona and Celta de Vigo at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. He scored two goals in Barcelona's 5-0 win.