SAN SEBASTIAN, March 22
Lionel Messi celebrated becoming Barcelona’s highest appearance maker of all time by scoring twice as his rampant side crushed Real Sociedad 6-1 away in La Liga on Sunday with a stunning team display. Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring by netting against his old club in the 36th minute and right-back Sergino Dest stretched Barca’s lead shortly before halftime after latching on to a sweeping pass from Messi.
Dest struck again early in the second half before Messi controlled a sumptuous pass from Sergio Busquets and scored to mark a night on which he overtook Xavi Hernandez as Barca’s record appearance maker, with 768 games for the club.
Ousmane Dembele struck his side’s fifth goal of the night in the 71st minute after a brilliant solo run while Sociedad’s Ander Barrenetxea hit arguably the best goal of the game to give his side a rare moment of joy.
Messi, however, had the final say, finishing off a flowing team move in the 89th minute to score his 23rd league goal of the season, increasing his lead at the top of the scoring charts.
The victory took Barca above Real Madrid into second place in the standings on 62 points, four behind leaders Atletico Madrid with 10 games left to play.
Oblak saves late penalty to give Atletico nervy win
La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid had to rely on a heroic late penalty save from goalkeeper Jan Oblak to earn a vital 1-0 victory at home to Alaves and preserve their advantage in the title race.
Atletico went ahead in the 54th minute when Luis Suarez headed home a Kieran Trippier cross but Diego Simeone’s side were happy to try to defend their lead and almost paid a heavy price when Stefan Savic was penalised for barging Luis Rioja.
Alaves were awarded a spot kick in the 86th minute but Oblak threw himself across goal to turn away Joselu’s shot with his left hand and preserve his side’s lead. — Reuters