Lionel Messi, Cristian Tello and Xavi were all on the scoresheet as Liga leaders Barcelona did the business with a 4-2 victory at Real Mallorca.
Messi’s two goals, a Xavi free kick and an excellent strike from youngster Tello were enough to earn three points, although Mallorca had attempted a comeback from 3-0 down at half-time with goals from Michael Pereira and Victor Casadesus.
Mallorca were already on a losing streak in the league and it was a big ask for them to face a Barcelona side looking to put things right after a surprise defeat to Celtic in the Champions League midweek.
In addition Mallorca had to face the Catalan giants with an under strength starting team due to the injuries of regular first team players such as former Barça man Giovani Dos Santos, along with Nunes, Antonio Lopez, Joao Victor and Javi Marquez.
Messi’s brace, which saw him beat Pele’s calendar year goal scoring record from 1959, took the Argentine up to 76 goals in 2012 for club and country. His second goal was his 20th strike already this season and he now has Gerd Muller's calendar year world record of 85 goals in 1972 in his sights.
Xavi opened the scoring with a fantastic free kick in the 28th minute, after Mallorca gave their hosts a chance to shoot from a set piece - following Jose Luis Marti’s foul on Fabregas just outside the box.
Messi made it 2-0 in the 44th minute with a low deflected shot which went straight through Mallorca goalkeeper Dudu Aouate.
Tello took the score up to three before half-time with a superb strike from outside the box, the youngster cutting in from the left to curl a low right footer into the bottom right hand corner of Aouate’s net and put Barça well in control.
Mallorca staged a mini-comeback at the start of the second half with the effervescent Pereira smashing in a half volley and Victor scoring from the spot after a handball by Sergio Busquets.
However, Messi had the final say, as he has done on so many occasions for this brilliant Barcelona side, the Argentine blasting into the net on 70 minutes, following good play in the build up from substitute Alexis Sanchez.
Mallorca are now on a six-match losing run in La Liga, their worst sequence of defeats since 1991-92, when they lost seven in a row.
Meanwhile, Barça have extended their best ever start to a top-flight league campaign, with ten wins and a draw so far this term.
- Sports & Recreation
- Lionel Messi
- Cristian Tello