FC Barcelona defeated Malaga 4-1 in the Camp Nou today thanks to another hat trick from Messi. This was his seventh La Liga hat-trick of the season after Puyol opened the scoring with a goal early in the first half. Messi's hat-trick was historic since the third goal meant he became the first player to score 68 goals in a season for a top flight European club. The record of 67 goals was first set by former German international and Bayern striker Gerd Mueller back in the 1972-73 season. The victory at home briefly kept alive their title hopes until Real Madrid defeated Athletic Bilbao later on to clinch the league title. Next up for Barça is the local derby at the Camp Nou against Espanyol in what will be Guardiola’s final match as manager at the Camp Nou.
FC Barcelona kicked off their 36th league match against Malaga with most of the starters in the lineup. Alexis, Xavi and Pique were out with injuries while Valdés was rested as backup keeper Pinto was in goal to get ready for the upcoming Copa del Rey final. It didn’t take Barça long to strike first blood when the captain, Carles Puyol volleyed Barça ahead in the 13th minute after a quickly played corner kick that saw Messi set up Iniesta who then sent the ball in front of the goal. Puyol was able to time his run perfectly to put his side ahead. This was the captain’s 3rd league goal, a new career best and he now has scored five goals in all competitions which is also a career high best.
Malaga though would strike back when Rondón scored a superb header in the 26th minute to give his side some hope as they strive to stay in contention for a spot in next season’s UEFA Champions League. Their hopes though would be short lived when Barça were awarded a penalty and Messi stepped up and converted from the spot in the 35th minute to give his side the lead for good when he made Kameni guess wrong.
The second half would belong entirely to Barça as they dictated the tempo and possession. Messi won himself a penalty near the hour mark. Messi again stepped up and converted from the spot to give his side the insurance goal. That goal tied the mark of 67 goals scored by former German international and Bayern striker Gerd Mueller back in the 1972-73 season. Five minutes later, that record would only belong to Messi after a through ball from Iniesta allowed Messi to race down the pitch before chipping the ball over Kameni and sliding it into the empty net.
68 goals for Messi and he now has 46 league goals, which is also a new league record, in his race to win the Pichichi and the Golden Boot. The victory at home briefly kept alive their title hopes until Real Madrid defeated Athletic Bilbao later on to clinch the league title. Next up for Barça is the local derby at the Camp Nou against Espanyol in what will be Guardiola’s final match as manager at the Camp Nou.
Match Info (From Sport):
FC Barcelona: Pinto; Dani Alves, Mascherano, Puyol (Bartra, min.68), Adriano; Fábregas, Keita, Iniesta (Afellay, min.76); Cuenca, Messi & Pedro (Tello, min.85).
Málaga: Kameni; Jesús Gámez, Sergio Sánchez, Demichelis, Eliseu; Portillo, Camacho, Cazorla (Recio, min.68), Duda; Buonanotte (Seba, min.61) & Rondón (Van Nistelrooy, min.61).
Goals: 1-0, Puyol (min.13); 1-1, Rondón (min.26); 2-1, Messi (min.35 – penalty); 3-1, Messi (min.59 – penalty); 4-1, Messi (min.64).
Referee: Turienzo Álvarez,
Bookings: Camacho (min.57); Cesc (min.83).