Lionel Messi reacts to the audience after scoring a goal. File photo
Lionel Messi was rugby tackled and then scored a penalty as Barcelona put the pressure back on Real Madrid by easing to a 2-0 victory over Leganes at an empty Camp Nou on Tuesday.
Messi was hauled to the ground in the first half by a diving Unai Bustinza wrapping two arms around his waist and he was knocked over again in the second, this time earning a penalty, which he converted.
After 33 appearances, Messi now has 26 goals this season. In his last eight games, he has seven goals and eight assists.
The 17-year-old Ansu Fati had earlier given Barcelona the lead, continuing his breakthrough season with a fifth goal in eight league starts.
Leganes could have made the reigning champions feel uncomfortable if Miguel-Angel Guerrero had taken either of two golden early opportunities but the first was cleared off the line and the second denied by the post.
"We had a bit of luck at the beginning," admitted Barca coach Quique Setien.
Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez might be the deadliest attack in Europe but Barcelona’s success in the Champions League could rest on their increasingly mean defence.
While Barcelona was working to keep Lionel Messi, defending champion Real Madrid was quietly making moves to get ready for the Spanish league season.
The draw meant the Catalans stayed second in the standings on 70 points and leaders Real Madrid, who have 71, will go four points clear at the top with five games left if they beat Getafe at home on Thursday.
The 30 lap short-format race will take place on Nov.6 on a 2.1km circuit in Dubai, as part of the Expo 2020 Dubai — where the ‘Made in Italy’ campaign is showcasing Italian excellence.
England raced to a second successive victory at the Twenty20 World Cup with an eight-wicket drubbing of Bangladesh on Wednesday in the two nations’ first ever meeting in the format.
Mexican sensation Maria Fassi carded a course-record equalling nine-under par 63 to hold a one-stroke lead over South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace after the first round of the Dubai Moonlight Classic presented by EGA at Emirates Golf Club on Wednesday.