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Five-star Barca chalk 11th win on the trot

MESSI-LEVANTEMADRID, February 15- Lionel Messi marked his 300th La Liga appearance with his 31st Barcelona hat-trick as the Catalans moved within a point of Real Madrid at the top of the table with a 5-0 win over Levante.

Barca have now won 11 straight matches in all competitions and never looked in danger despite coach Luis Enrique making eight changes from the side that beat Villarreal in the Copa del Rey in midweek.

Messi teed up Neymar to open the scoring early on and then took over scoring duties himself to take his all-time La Liga tally to 269 goals.

However, even the Argentine was upstaged by a stunning overhead kick from substitute Luis Suarez to round off the scoring.

Victory tied Pep Guardiola’s best ever run of consecutive wins during his hugely successful four-year spell in charge at the Camp Nou.

But Enrique insisted it is winning at the season’s end which matters most.

“Records are obviously positive, but they don’t interest me,” he said.

“The players aren’t overly euphoric because they know how hard it is to win titles.

“If the fans are euphoric then great. We need to be optimistic, but it isn’t important how many games we have won. What counts is if they help us to win trophies.”

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Messi, Neymar and Javier Mascherano were the only survivors from Wednesday’s 3-1 Cup semi-final, first leg win over Villarreal as Enrique continued to use the vast resources of his squad.

Those changes did understandably provoke a subdued start, but Barca’s luck was in on 17 minutes when Neymar mishit Messi’s dinked pass over the Levante defence only for the ball to spin high into the air and drop into the far corner of the net.

The two South American stars combined once more 20 minutes later only for Messi to be wrongly flagged offside when he seemed set to double the hosts advantage.

Messi didn’t have to wait long for his first goal, though, as Marc Bartra robbed the ball deep inside the Levante half and fed his teammate to slot home his 35th goal of the season.

The four-time World Player of the Year should have added to his tally before the break when he fired over from inside the area after Diego Marino had made a fine block from Pedro Rodriguez’s original effort.

Messi did add his second of the afternoon just before the hour mark as Sergio Busquets’s lovely pass into Pedro was turned across goal by the Spanish international and Messi tapped home with his right foot.

Neymar was then upended inside the area by Ivan Lopez and, having handed penalty taking duties to the Brazilian when Neymar missed from the spot in midweek, Messi wasn’t to give up the opportunity for his fifth hat-trick of the season as he sent Marino the wrong way.

Suarez was introduced at Neymar’s expense shortly afterwards and the former Liverpool man provided his own moment of brilliance as he caught Adriano’s cross flush on the volley for just his fourth La Liga goal 17 minutes from time.

Earlier, Valencia needed an Alvaro Negredo penalty 19 minutes from time to see off Getafe 1-0 and move back up to fourth in La Liga.

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The on-loan Manchester City striker cheekily chipped home the winner from the spot after he had been brought down by Juan Rodriguez inside the area.

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  1. Pratt

    February 21, 2012 at 6:48 am

    Odinga’s rapant lies are at play yet again! Surely, why would a foreign leader come over here to talk party politics? But I guess, desperate situations demand desperate spin doctors! Raila’s history is laden with obvious laughable lies, but tribal loyalty in the media present those wanton lies as his major points! Its really amazing how Kenyans have been conned for so long. Odinga’s lies are actually turned to truth while the truth of others is drowned by those lies. He has called people his names and managed to get them stick. However, as its now emerging, who has been an obstacle in implementing the new constitution? Matemu’s team is being frustrated by the same fellow who pretended to endorse it. However, at night he embarked on sabotaging the same, what a real watermelon?!  

  2. Lima

    February 21, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Pratt with your vile and deep hatred for the PM, i mean is it that their is nothing positive or good about the prime minister you can comment on.Kudos to the PM for been sober with this self-centred tribal haters around

    • Pratt

      February 21, 2012 at 11:48 am

      Tribal loyalty pal doesnt help. It only stagnates matters. Instead of saying that I hate your idol, which is actually not true, can you tell us whether the facts I laid down are correct? And how can you say he has been sober when he doesnt know the difference between “amendment before passage” and “amendment after passage?” He thinks its about reformers and non-reformers! He even thinks “amendment before passage” is a serious crime with permanent stigma! Dont you think thats really startling?

    • Pratt

      February 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      And what are the positive things that you can associate with the do-nothing PM? I dont seem to remember any apart from the numerous fictitious achievements. Can you kindly refresh my mind dear?

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