Jan. 12 (UPI) — Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba had a hand in three consecutive goals in FC Barcelona’s 5-0 thumping of Celta Vigo.
Barca hosted the Copa del Rey scoring fiesta Thursday night at Camp Nou.
Alba hit a one-tapper from the left to an incoming Messi at the top of the box in the 13th minute. Messi booted the strike into the far post with his left foot, opening up the scoring.
Messi struck again at the 14:27 mark. He fed the ball to the defender on the left side, before getting it back on a give-and-go. Messi finished the return feed into the far post, past Spanish keeper Sergio.
The third goal of the match was an absolute masterpiece.
Messi received a backward pass and dribbled down the middle of the pitch. He stopped and chipped a ball from about 40 yards out. The feed landed in the box, right in front of a dashing Alba. The defender finished the bounced offering on his first touch with a diving left-footed volley in the 28th minute.
“I’m happy about the goals that were scored,” Alba said after the match. “Leo put in a great pass for me.”
“It’s luxury to have Leo in the side, he’s the best in history,” Alba added. “We always look for each other to score goals and today we have done it twice”
Luis Suarez put in the next score off of a defensive blunder from Celta Vigo.
Barcelona took the 4-0 lead into the locker room. The La Liga leaders got their fifth goal off of a Ivan Rakitic header from a corner kick in the 87th minute.
Newly acquired Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho took in the game from the bench and flashed a smile after several of Messi’s plays.
Barcelona battles Espanyol at 3 p.m. Wednesday in a quarterfinal Copa del Rey matchup at RCDE Stadium in Barcelona. The Blaugrana face-off against Real Sociedad at 2:45 p.m. Sunday at Anoeta Stadium in San Sebastian, Spain.
“I think our first half was extraordinary,” Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde said in his postgame interview. “We played really really well. Every aspect of the game. attacking, defense, lots of concentration. I think the team really focussed for this game. We knew that Celta made life difficult for us in previous games. We needed to play well and we did so.”