Messi scores twice again as Barcelona routs Osasuna 7-1

MADRID (AP) — Lionel Messi followed up his remarkable performance against Real Madrid with another two goals as Barcelona trounced last-place Osasuna 7-1 to remain at the top of the Spanish league on Wednesday.

Andre Gomes and Paco Alcacer also scored twice, and Javier Mascherano netted his first goal for Barcelona to complete the rout at the Camp Nou.

The victory gave the Catalan club a three-point lead over Madrid, which plays at Deportivo La Coruna later Wednesday. Barcelona will stay in the lead even if Madrid wins because of the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Messi had also scored twice in the “clasico” against Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Sunday, including a last-minute winner that gave him 500 career goals with Barcelona. He was honored for the milestone before Wednesday’s game, with a huge banner displayed on the stands with the words “Thank you Leo.”

Messi opened the scoring against Osasuna with a lob over the goalkeeper after breaking free from his markers and surging into the area with only goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu to beat. He neatly headed the ball down before unleashing his 12th-minute strike.

Messi, who has scored 16 goals in his last 11 league games, netted his second with a well-placed left-foot shot from just outside the area in the 61st, two minutes before being substituted to a standing ovation by the crowd at the Camp Nou.

Messi has scored twice in the last five games in which he has found the net. He is the league’s leading scorer with 33 goals, nine more than teammate Luis Suarez and 14 more than Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

Gomes scored in the 30th and 57th minutes, and Paco Alcacer netting in the 64th and 86th. Defender Mascherano, who had yet to score in more than 300 matches with Barcelona, was allowed to end his drought by taking a 67th-minute penalty kick.

Suarez was rested by coach Luis Enrique in Wednesday’s game. Neymar couldn’t play because of a suspension.

Osasuna, with its return to the second division virtually confirmed, played in orange-colored shirts made specifically for the match, as its other shirts were too similar to Barcelona’s outfit.

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