In a last 16 clash at the Camp Nou, FC Barcelona beat Leganes by five goals to nil and advanced to the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.
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Lionel Messi struck twice and played a part in Barca’s other three goals as Barcelona bounced back from their first defeat under Quique Setien with a resounding 5-0 victory over Leganes in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey.
Lionel Messi has hit another milestone at Barcelona, having now featured in 500 wins for the club.
This makes Messi the first player to reach the landmark, with Xavi having won 476 matches and Andres Iniesta reaching 459 victories before departing Camp Nou.
In total, Messi has been on the winning side against 86 different teams, with Sevilla his favourite opponent.Messi has won 29 times against the Andalusian club, while he has 24 victories over Atletico Madrid and 19 versus Real Madrid.
Setien named a strong starting line-up and it took less than four minutes for Antoine Griezmann to open the scoring, with Clement Lenglet nodding in the second before the half-hour mark.
Messi extended his lead with a fortuitous finish in the 59th minute, and doubled his account after the replacement Arthur found the bottom of the net to send Barça to the quarterfinals.
After Nelson Semedo played with Messi, he returned the ball to Griezmann, who shot between Chidozie Awaziem’s legs and into the lower left corner to give Barça an early lead.
Setien’s team dominated possession and had a second goal for Griezmann discarded in the ninth minute, and Jordi Alba was considered to be marginally out of play in the accumulation.
Griezmann saw a deflected shot dumped around the post by Ivan Cuellar, but Lenglet nodded with the resulting corner of Messi over the goalkeeper of Leganés and in the far corner to increase Barça’s lead in the 27th minute.
The visitors sporadically threatened the counterattack, but their hopes of returning to the game were extinguished when Messi ran to the right and beat Cuéllar with the help of a detour by Rodrigo Tarin.
The coach of the Leganes, Javier Aguirre, received a yellow card for dissent, and his mood would not have improved in the 77th minute, Arthur shot home after Cuellar denied that Ansu Fati and Awaziem blocked Messi at the initial follow-up .
Messi completed a magnificent exhibition with a remaining minute to get caught in Ivan Rakitic’s ball, round Cuellar and send the ball to the roof of the net.
After having broken the movement for the Valencia attacker Rodrigo Moreno, Barça director Guillermo Amor said they were happy to finish the transfer window without signing the attack coverage of Luis Suárez, who has been ruled out until the end of the season with a knee injury.
This match would have been a good opportunity for Barça to give Griezmann and Messi a rest, even though they were fundamental to the result. Now they are even more crucial in the race and you can’t take risks with the pairing of stars.
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It was not a spectacular exhibition of Barcelona, but Messi was involved in all five goals. He threw Semedo for the first game, helped Lenglet for the second and got the third and fifth. Arthur wouldn’t have been on the scoreboard if it wasn’t for the initial rebound of the Argentine star either.
It was never an easy task for Jonathan Silva, but he struggled to provide resistance to the left and lost possession 12 times before being replaced by Kevin Rodrigues in the 57th minute.
Barcelona host Levante in LaLiga on Sunday, when Leganés entertains Real Sociedad.