Mumbai: Lionel Messi scored twice against Real Sociedad at their home ground, Camp Nou. With two goals and one assist, the title hopes for Barcelona are still alive. Barcelona will need the ‘Messi magic’ when they meet Real Madrid for the next week’s El-Clasico.
With an early goal, Barcelona took the lead, at 17 minutes of the game Messi smashed the ball followed by another goal at the 37th minute. Now, the soccer star closes the gap for the record, 500th goal for Barcelona. Real Sociedad tried to close the gap by an own goal through Barcelona defender, Samuel Umtiti at the 42nd minute. But, Barcelona quickly fired back with another goal by Paco Alcacer.
Xabi Prieto closed the gap during the extra time of the first half. With such high drama in the first half, the second half was low on pace as the visitors were trying to hold Barcelona, for scoring any other goal.
After their loss at Malaga, where Neymar was sent off and handed a three-match domestic ban and a 3-0 defeat by Juventus in the quarter-final first leg in the Champions League, this was a much-needed victory for Barcelona.
“I am more than happy with the performance of the players and their ability to manage the frustration after what we experienced in the Champions League this week,” said Barcelona coach, Luis Enrique in an interview on Spanish TV station-Movistar.
He added, “We have to be marvellous and perfect, the players need the confidence to be at their best and that’s what I’m trying to do as the coach. It was a special week because of what happened before (defeats by Malaga and Juventus). We won a game against a difficult opponent. I’m more than happy with the performance. We deserved to win even though it was tricky.”
Now, before the clash of the titans both the teams will play their return legs of their champion league quarterfinals. While Real Madrid, after winning their first leg with 2-1, will play Bayern Munich on Tuesday, Barcelona will look for a revenge after their crushing defeat by Juventus.
(With inputs from The Guardian and BBC)