Tuesday, 18 June, 2019

Lionel Messi puts on masterclass for watching Philippe Coutinho

Lionel Messi puts on masterclass for watching Philippe Coutinho Lionel Messi puts on masterclass for watching Philippe Coutinho
Shannon Reynolds | 13 January, 2018, 15:56

Coutinho, dressed in a black shirt dotted with white stars, was in the stands at the Camp Nou for the first time since his 160 million-euro ($192mn) move from Liverpool.

Lionel Messi grabbed a double, scoring twice in the opening 15 minutes to take his tally to 21 goals in all competitions this term.

The tie was delicately poised at 1-1 after a first leg in which Celta played extremely well against, admittedly, an under-strength Barca team but Ernesto Valverde recalled the likes of Jordi Alba, Andres Iniesta, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi for the return match and the Catalans blitzed their opponents with an utterly dominant first-half display.

The visitors failed to pitch up in the first half and they were duly punished by Barca, who were out of sight at the half-time whistle.

Earlier in the day, Espanyol overturned a 1-2 first leg deficit against Levante to qualify 3-2 on aggregate thanks to a 2-0 win away at Ciudad de Valencia Stadium.

The tie petered out in the second half but French worldwide Ousmane Dembele showed why Barcelona paid 105 million euros for him previous year when he dribbled past three defenders from the halfway line before being denied by a desperate tackle.

"It's luxury to have Leo in the side, he's the best in history", Alba added.

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Barty best of the Aussies in Sydney
Later in the day, former world number one Angelique Kerber also won her match and thus set up the title showdown with Barty. Gavrilova was playing her third successive Australian opponent in Sydney .

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Suarez nearly capped the win with a spectacular chip from 40 yards, with the ball just sailing wide of the left-hand post, but Rakitic added gloss to the scoreline three minutes from time with a firm header from Dembele's corner.

With Messi having re-signed until 2021, Alba said he hoped the 30-year-old could maintain his incredible form.

Celta Vigo have indeed been in impressive attacking form this season and have scored 32 times in La Liga, equal to Real Madrid and five more than second-placed Atletico Madrid.

In a much-changed side, Lucas Vazquez scored both of Real's goals after the 11th and 59th minutes.

Numancia ended the game with 10 men after captain Dani Calvo was red-carded in the dying moments.

Despite losing 2-1 at Villarreal, who are now sixth in La Liga, Leganes progressed on away goals having won the first leg 1-0.

Lega took a 1-0 lead to the Estadio de la Ceramica for the second leg and despite losing 2-1 in that second game, Nabil El Zhar's goal on the night was enough to see them safely through to the quarters.

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