THE GUARDIA.uk - Lionel Messi on song with two goals as Barcelona thrash Real Sociedad
Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona thrashed Real Sociedad 5-0 to stay top of La Liga after a ninth straight victory. David Villa, Andrés Iniesta, and Bojan Krkic also got on the scoresheet in a fluent exhibition of the quick-touch football that has guided the Catalans to their last two titles.
Messi threaded the ball to Pedro Rodríguez in the ninth minute and Villa was on his own inside the box to redirect a pass into the roof of the net for his ninth of the season. Iniesta charged into the area in the 33rd minute, laying off to Pedro who returned it for the Spain midfielder to beat Claudio Bravo with a low shot inside the near post.
The Sociedad players looked like any other Camp Nou spectators at times as Xavi Hernández, Messi and Iniesta, all shortlisted for the world player of the year award, orchestrated attack after attack, with Villa and Pedro denied by Bravo or scrambling defenders.
Messi started the third goal from just inside the Sociedad half in the 47th minute, the Argentina forward exchanging several passes with Daniel Alves before slotting home.
Messi, who hit the post in the 78th minute, equalled Cristiano Ronaldo's goal tally in the league in the 87th with a typically clever run past four defenders inside the area before finishing with a left-footed shot inside the far post. Messi and Ronaldo have 17 league goals.
Bojan scored the last Barcelona goal with an individual effort in injury time.Barcelona, who have outscored their opponents 26-0 in their last six games in all competitions, lead the table with 40 points from 15 games with Real Madrid two points behind