Messi hunts Barca scoring record


Staff member
Minsk, Belarus: Lionel Messi scored a goal in each half as Barcelona routed BATE Borisov 5-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday for the defending champions' first victory in Group H.

With his double, Messi joined Laszlo Kubala as Barcelona's second all-time leading scorer with 194 goals.

"Each day playing with Messi and having him as a teammate is a blast," Barcelona right back Dani Alves said. "We are going to do everything we can to help him break all the records he can."

Barcelona took advantage of the hosts' defensive errors to cruise to a comfortable win.

An own goal by BATE midfielder Aleksandr Volodko put Barcelona ahead before Pedro Rodriguez and Messi sent the Spanish giants into half time with a 3-0 lead.

Messi got his second just after the restart with a cracking strike from inside the area, and David Villa capped the win in the 90th.

Now aged 24 and in his eighth season, Messi has the chance to surpass Kubala on Sunday at Sporting Gijon in La Liga. Kubala played for Barca for a decade from 1951.

Barcelona's top scorer Cesar Rodriguez scored 235 goals from 1942-55. If Messi keeps scoring at the same rate he did last season, he could pass that mark before this campaign is over.

Legendary player

"[Messi] has equalled a legendary player for Barcelona, and he has done it at just 24 years old. I can't say anything more, only congratulate him," Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said. "The only way that he won't catch Cesar is if he leaves."

BATE put 10 men behind the ball and for the first 15 minutes succeeded in limiting the visitors to a long strike by Thiago Alcantara and a Messi free kick.

With their short passing game frustrated, Barcelona broke through BATE's defence by uncharacteristically going over the top.

Volodko tried to clear Alves' cross for Messi but ended up sending the ball into his own net to give the visitors the lead in the 19th minute.

Three minutes later, Villa followed Alves' example and picked out Pedro at the far post for the Spain forward to guide his header over goalkeeper Aleksandr Gutor to double Barcelona's advantage.

"We faced a team that played very far back in defence, and we were lucky enough to score early," Guardiola said. "I didn't expect they would play so defensively. It was one of those games that if you don't score early, you get nervous."

An error by the BATE keeper put the result beyond doubt in the 38th when Gutor let Pedro's tame cross slip through his hands for Messi to tap across the goalline.

Ten minutes after the break Messi scored his second with a rising left-footed shot for his eighth goal in his last four matches and 14th in ten games overall this season.

Villa slotted home his late goal after a counter-attack, with the BATE defence in tatters.