Barcelona equal La Liga record with help of Messi magic

11 April 2018, 05:59 | Kristine Mills

Lionel Messi single-handedly eliminated Arsenal from the Champions League in 2010

Lionel Messi single-handedly eliminated Arsenal from the Champions League in 2010

Barcelona equaled the Spanish top flight record of 38 successive games without defeat following their 3-1 La Liga win over Leganes on Saturday.

Messi returned to Barca's starting lineup for the midweek win over Roma after only being used as a substitute in the draw with Sevilla last weekend.

The Argentine has played in all but one game in the run and scored 39 goals, only missing the win at Malaga due to the birth of his third child.

Messi's first-half double effectively wrapped the game up before the interval and Barca took their foot off the pedal in the second period.

Valverde says he is not looking to rest Lionel Messi against Leganes. More balance without NeymarBarca were left reeling at the start of the campaign when Neymar left for Paris St Germain, yet the Brazilian's exit turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Sevilla, who also scored an own goal in their midweek Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich and have now lost four of their last five matches, nearly levelled things up three minutes before the break but Sandro Ramirez's volley was kept out by goalkeeper Sergio.

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"We'll see how Messi is feeling after training".

"This unbeaten record has not only been achieved this season, but also past year under (former coach) Luis Enrique", said Barca coach Valverde. Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic has also gained greater influence in the team under the new coach, playing more league minutes than every outfield player except Messi.

And it was only an injury-time Suarez penalty which saw Ernesto Valverde's men beyond Leganes at the Nou Camp last season, which winger Alexander Szymanowski thinks can give the side extra belief.

And El Zhar made up for that miss 22 minutes from time, picking his spot in finding the bottom corner from 18 yards, with the aid of a slight deflection off Sergi Roberto, after being set up by Gabriel Pires.

Messi was undoubtedly the best player on the pitch, but Philippe Coutinho also impressed throughout for Barcelona.



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