Messi becomes first player to score 400 LaLiga goals as Barcelona see off Eibar



Posted Monday, January 14, 2019 by PA

Messi becomes first player to score 400 LaLiga goals as Barcelona see off Eibar

Lionel Messi scored his 400th LaLiga goal as leaders Barcelona claimed a comfortable 3-0 victory over Eibar at the Nou Camp.

Luis Suarez also struck twice as Barca maintained a five-point advantage at the top of the table.

Messi’s remarkable landmark strike extended his own LaLiga record – Cristiano Ronaldo is the only other player to have scored more than 300 goals in the Spanish top flight – and came in just his 435th appearance in the competition.

Barca were not at their best but proved too strong for Eibar who, despite being well organised, struggled to create openings.

Philippe Coutinho, recalled by Barca in place of Ousmane Dembele following recent speculation over his future, impressed on his return to the side.

Eibar contained the hosts in the early stages but Gerard Pique went close to giving Barca the lead when he headed narrowly wide from a Messi free-kick after nine minutes.

Messi becomes first player to score 400 LaLiga goals as Barcelona see off Eibar
Luis Suarez (second right) also scored twice (Manu Fernandez/AP)

Barca were otherwise finding chances hard to come by, but they pieced together a move of quality to open the scoring after 18 minutes.

Coutinho was at the heart of a slick raid, playing a one-two with Suarez and then sliding the Uruguayan in on goal with a defence-splitting pass. Suarez needed a couple of touches to get the ball out from under his feet but he quickly adjusted to shoot beyond the advancing Asier Riesgo.

Eibar initially responded well to the setback and almost equalised as Sergi Enrich got on the end of a Ruben Pena cross but his header just missed the target.

Eibar left-back Marc Cucurella, who is on loan from Barca, also troubled his parent club with some powerful runs which impressed the home crowd.

Barca almost doubled the lead when Sergi Roberto headed wide and Coutinho was denied a penalty following a Pena challenge but it was not until after the break they turned on the style.

Messi’s milestone strike came moments after he appeared to be struggling. The Argentinian seemed to be holding the top of his leg early in the second half but he soon shrugged off any problem as he struck after 53 minutes.

Suarez and Coutinho were again involved as the defence was opened up before Messi finished with a powerful left-foot drive.

Messi becomes first player to score 400 LaLiga goals as Barcelona see off Eibar
Coutinho impressed on his return to the side (Manu Fernandez/AP)

Barca moved through the gears and it was clear a third goal was coming as Riesgo saved in quick succession from a Suarez header, a Coutinho drive and a Messi effort.

The threatened goal duly came just before the hour as Suarez race through from a quick from Roberto and flicked past Riesgo with the outside of the boot.

Riesgo denied Messi another soon after following more good work by Coutinho.

Enrich headed wide and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen saved from Pablo De Blasis as Eibar fought on but the result was beyond doubt.

Dembele came off the bench and threatened with a powerful run but Cote made a good recovering tackle.

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