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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Barcelona held as Lionel Messi completes 19-game goal run

Goal was Messi's 43rd league goal of campaign and also secured another record for World Player of Year.

Written by PTI | Madrid | Published: March 31, 2013 10:32:30 am

Lionel Messi notched up another goal-scoring record but Barcelona’s cruise towards a 22nd title was halted when Borja Oubina hit a late equaliser which handed Celta Vigo a deserved 2-2 draw.

The visitors were without a number of first-team regulars and were punished for a slow start yesterday when Natxo Insa prodded home from close range to put Celta in front seven minutes before half-time.

The lead only lasted five minutes though as Messi released Cristian Tello to curl home a fine equaliser and the roles were reversed 18 minutes from time when Tello cut the ball back for Messi to drill low into the net.

The goal was Messi’s 43rd league goal of the campaign and also secured another record for the World Player of the Year.

By scoring for the 19th straight game,he became the first player to score against every other side in the Spanish league in consecutive matches.

However,Celta gave their chances of survival a huge boost as Oubina headed home Fabian Orellana’s cross at the back post two minutes from time.

And Barca assistant manager Jordi Roura admitted that his side lacked the concentration required to see the game out.

“I don’t want to point out individual errors,” said Roura,whose team are still 13 points ahead at the top of La Liga after Real Madrid were held 1-1 by Real Zaragoza.

“We had done the most difficult bit which was to score. In the final few minutes we lacked the collective intensity needed and they have equalised.”

Despite his disappointment at the outcome though,Roura did take time to laud another incredible individual achievement by Messi.

“It is a unheard of record that no one has ever achieved. This shows how great this player is. With time what this player is doing will be valued even more.”

Roura will be concerned ahead though at how poor Barca’s makeshift defence looked ahead of their clash with Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.

Second-placed Real Madrid failed to make up ground on Barcelona as they could only manage a 1-1 draw with Real Zaragoza.

Barca’s draw with Celta Vigo had handed Madrid the chance to cut the Catalans’ lead at the top to 11 points,but Zaragoza were more than worthy of their point as they moved three points clear of the relegation zone.

Rodri put the hosts in front after just five minutes with a calm finish,but Madrid were level before the break as Cristiano Ronaldo equalised with a typically powerful effort from Gonzalo Higuain’s pass.

Yet,despite ending the game with almost their strongest side on the pitch,Real couldn’t find a way through in the second-half and were grateful to goalkeeper Diego Lopez for the point as he made two fine saves to deny Helder Postiga.

With the Spanish champions returning to Champions League action against Galatasary in midweek,Jose Mourinho rested the midfield quartet of Xabi Alonso,Sami Khedira,Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria from the start and the visitors were made to suffer by an energetic Zaragoza side early on.

Rodri fired the hosts into the lead after Apono pounced on a loose ball in midfield and set the former Barcelona man free in behind the Madrid defence where he finished calmly beyond Lopez.

However,Madrid then began to take a hold on the game and after Glenn Loovens’ clearance off his own line had denied Pepe,Ronaldo registered his 28th league goal of the campaign with a powerful left-footed shot.

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