Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann were both on target with superb goals against Huesca in La Liga on Monday night. The Barcelona captain celebrated matching Xavi Hernandez’s all-time appearance record for the club by opening the scoring with another ridiculous strike.
The Argentine was playing his 767th game for the Catalan giants and needed just 13 minutes to open the scoring against La Liga’s bottom side. The captain took a brilliant touch on the ball before turning and thumping a sublime effort into the top corner, giving goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez no chance at all.
Messi’s effort was his 20th goal in La Liga in 2020-21 and means he’s hit the landmark for the 13th straight season. He is also the only player to have ever achieved the feat, as reported by Opta.
The captain also scored again in the closing stages to seal a 4-1 win for the Catalan giants that sees Barca close the gap on La Liga leaders Atletico to just four points.
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Messi’s Good Form Continues
Messi’s strikes also mean he extends his lead at the top of the scoring charts in Spain. The Argentine now has 21 for the season and is three ahead of his nearest rival and former team-mate Luis Suarez.
The Barcelona captain has been in great form since the turn of the year. He was named February’s Player of the Month and was handed the award before kick-off on Monday night.
Messi now has 17 goals and six assists in18 appearances in all competitions since the turn of the year. The captain’s form has been a big reason behind Barca’s 17-match unbeaten run in La Liga that has kept them in contention for the title after a poor start.
Griezmann Ends Goal Drought in Style
Barcelona’s second of the night came 10 minutes before half-time and saw Griezmann end a run of nine games without a goal in some style. The Frenchman let fly from fully 25 yards and also found the top corner of the goal.
The goals will surely please manager Ronald Koeman who urged his side to be more efficient in front of goal after seeing his players miss a host of chances last time out in the 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
Koeman told reporters, “We demand a lot from our players but we must make sure our players are effective and efficient in front of goal and that’s what we are working on.”
Griezmann’s goal should provide some much-needed confidence for the Frenchman who has come in for criticism at times but now has 13 for the season in all competitions for Barcelona.
Yet the first half wasn’t all good news for the hosts. Huesca pulled one back on the stroke of half-time after a controversial penalty. Rafa Mir converted the kick after Marc-Andre ter Stegen was adjudged to have fouled the forward.
However, Barca did manage to restore the two-goal advantage early in the second half. Messi crossed for center-back Oscar Mingueza to head his first goal for the club to make it 3-1. The captain then wrapped up a comfortable win with a low strike in the closing minutes.