Messi double puts Barca within reach of title

Milan: Barcelona took another big stride towards a second-straight La Liga triumph when top scorer Lionel Messi struck twice in the leaders` 4-1 home win over relegation battling Tenerife.

Carles Puyol`s howler gifted the visitors an equaliser after Argentina forward Messi had put Barca ahead in the 17th minute before Bojan Krkic and substitute Pedro netted with clinical second-half strikes.

Messi grabbed a fourth in added time at a rain-lashed Nou Camp when he controlled a Daniel Alves pass and lifted the ball over Tenerife goalkeeper Sergio Aragoneses for his 31st league goal of the campaign.

With two matches left, Barca have a La Liga record 93 points, four clear of second-placed Real Madrid, who have a game in hand and can cut the gap back to one with a win at Champions League hopefuls Real Mallorca on Wednesday.

Barca`s points total from 36 matches surpasses the 92 accumulated by Real under Fabio Capello in the 1996-97 season when there were 22 teams rather than 20.

"We have 93 points and I don`t even believe it myself," coach Pep Guardiola said at a news conference.

"We will have to win in Sevilla if we want to be champions," the 39-year-old added. "It`s the 17th consecutive match that we have played with a gap of only three or four days. The effort is incredible."

Barca`s final two games are away to fifth-placed Sevilla and home to relegation-threatened Real Valladolid, while Real play Athletic Bilbao, who are fighting for a Europa League spot, at home and struggling Malaga away.

Bureau Report

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. You can find out more by clicking this link