Wednesday, 20 November, 2019

Messi gives set-piece masterclass as Barca outclass Celta

Under pressure to deliver Under pressure to deliver
Shannon Reynolds | 10 November, 2019, 13:36

Ernesto Valverde admitted Barcelona can not help but depend on Lionel Messi after the talismanic forward scored a hat-trick to inspire a 4-1 LaLiga victory over Celta Vigo.

Messi opened the scoring in the 23rd minute from the penalty spot, only to commit the foul that would lead to Celta's equalizer - a well-placed free kick from Lucas Olaza - three minutes before the end of the second half.

Messi completed his treble - matching the record of Cristiano Ronaldo of 34 in La Liga - when he clipped in another impeccably executed deadball strike soon after the restart.

Messi stepped up again after half-time, before Sergio Busquets added a fourth.

Barcelona, who are now level with rivals Real Madrid with 25 points, travel to Leganes following the global break, defending, while Celta Vigo, who continue in a crisis despite recently appointing Oscar Garcia Junyent as manager, will look for their third win of the season against Villarreal.

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Speaking to reporters after the game, head coach Valverde underlined the Argentina international's importance, telling reporters: "It's impossible not to depend on Messi". "This (taking free-kicks) is something that he has mastered to perfection".

Messi has scored nine goals in his last seven games throughout all competitions.

"We had a damaging defeat the other day and we needed a win tonight".

Garcia replaced Fran Escriba, who was sacked after the 1-0 defeat by Getafe, remains positive despite Celta now having lost a fifth straight game and sitting 18th.

"Without him, the match it would have been very different, and we would have had an even chance of winning".

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