BARCELONA (Sporting Alert) — Lionel Messi delivered another masterclass performance on his way to scoring two goals on Sunday as leaders Barcelona thumped Atletico Madrid 4-1 in the Spanish La Liga.
Messi netted twice in the second half to extend his goalscoring record to 90 goals in a calendar year.
But it was Atletico Madrid who struck first went lethal forward Radamel Falcao finished well over Victor Valdes in the 31st minute to quiet the Barcelona fans at Camp Nou.
The lead lasted just five minutes though, as Adriano fired home a blistering shot past Thibault Courtois to score his fifth La Liga goal this season and his six overall.
Sergio Busquets grabbed the lead for Barcelona when the midfielder took advantage of some sloppy defending just before the half-time break.
It wouldn’t have been a Barcelona game without Messi scoring and the Argentine international brought joy to the face of his manager Tito Vilanova when he increased the home side’s lead to 3-1 and grabbed his 89th of the year in the 57th minute with a neat-looking strike.
The little maestro then took advantage of some poor defending from Atletico when he stole the ball in the box from two defenders to beat Courtois again and pushed his tally to 90 goals in 2012.
Barcelona now moved to 46 points, 13 points more than defending champions and third place Real Madrid, who were held 2-2 at home by Espanyol.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Fabio Coentrao paired to give Real Madrid the lead, but Sergio Garcia and Juan Albin both scored for Espanyol to earn the draw.
Atletico Madrid are in second place with 37 points.