Magical Messi nets braceAgence France-Presse . Madrid
Lionel Messi scored twice, including one brilliant individual effort, in his first start of the year as Barcelona beat Getafe 2-0 in the second-leg of their Copa del Rey last-16 tie to progress 6-0 on aggregate.
However, it was far from a perfect evening for the Catalans as Neymar had to be carried from the field after suffering a nasty looking right ankle sprain midway through the first-half.
Barca boss Gerardo Martino, though, played down fears that the Brazilian could be sidelined for a significant period of time.
‘We don’t think it is as bad as it appeared on television. He could be out for a period of time, but it shouldn’t be too serious, the player is fine,’ he said.
‘I prefer that the doctors say exactly how long he will be out, but we don’t think it will be for a long time.’
With his side already leading 4-0 from the first-leg, thanks in part to two goals from Messi on his first appearance as a substitute after two months out, Martino made nine changes to the side that started Saturday’s La Liga 0-0 draw at Atletico Madrid.
Neymar was also making his first start of the year after recovering from a bout of gastroenteritis.
However, his return lasted only 23 minutes as he had to be helped off the field by two members of the Barca medical staff as he turned his ankle in attempting to cross the ball from the left side of the area.
The visitors shrugged off the loss of the Brazilian, though, as Cristian Tello’s driven cross was turned in at the near post by Messi two minutes before half-time.
And the best was still to come from the diminutive Argentine as he danced past three Getafe challenges before rounding goalkeeper Jordi Codina and finishing from a tight angle for his fourth goal of the tie just after the hour mark.
Messi went on to complete the 90 minutes and Martino said he was now confident that his compatriot is now fully match fit.
‘He was out for 60 days, but physically he feels good and you can see he is now ready to play the 90 minutes. It was just a matter of time until he did it.’
Martino also took the opportunity to hand Xavi Hernandez his 700th appearance for the club as he replaced Cesc Fabregas with 20 minutes remaining.
Messi should have rounded off his evening with a hat-trick on 85 minutes as he was played in with just Codina to beat, but the keeper made a fine save with his right leg to turn the ball behind for a corner.
It mattered little in the overall complexion of the tie, however, as Barca set up a meeting with Levante in the last eight.
comments powered by Disqus
The Bangladesh Under-19 cricket team began their ICC Under-19 World Cup mission on Friday with an intense camp at the BKSP to prepare them for the mega event starting on February 8 in Dubai. The team is looking to step... Full story
Table-topper Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club secured their fourth consecutive victory in the Bangladesh Premier Football League when they defeated Muktijoddha Sangsad 1-0 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Friday. Full story
James Faulkner’s sensational late assault powered Australia to a dramatic one-wicket victory over England in the second one-day international in Brisbane on Friday. Crushed 5-0 in the Ashes... Full story
The Green Delta Insurance Premier Division Hockey League will begin today without four clubs, including last year’s champions Mohammedan Sporting Club. Mohammedan, Mariner Young’s Club, Wari Club... Full story
A one-over-par 73 on Friday further pushed back Bangladesh golfer Siddikur Rahman’s position in the standings of the King’s Cup after the second round’s play in Hua Hin, Thailand. Siddik, who was... Full story
Dilruwan Perera missed a century on his debut while skipper Angelo Mathews fell for 91 as Sri Lanka frustrated Pakistan in the third and final Test in Sharjah on Friday. Perera (95) and Mathews made life difficult for... Full story
Four-time champions the Williams sisters pulled out of the Australian Open doubles on Friday after an injury to elder sister Venus. The American pair withdrew from their first-round match with Kristina Mladenovic and... Full story
World number one Serena Williams Friday said she could end her 13-year boycott of the Indian Wells tournament after being inspired by Nelson Mandela. The American 32-year-old and her sister Venus... Full story
Bangladesh Boxing Federation has agreed to a one-year deal with Ukrainian coach Gourenko Alexander, who had already started working with three boxers at the Bangladesh Olympic Association’s ongoing specialised training camp. Full story
Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal was appointed brand ambassador of Cyclelife Exclusive, a concern of Meghna Group Bangladesh, at a launching programme on Friday at Tejgaon. Cyclelife Exclusive on Friday... Full story
Ethiopian running legend Kenenisa Bekele already holds two world records, and now he says he is eyeing a third—this time in the marathon. Bekele will be the star draw of the April 6 Paris marathon, just a week... Full story
Oklahoma City surged in the third quarter to overcome a double-digit deficit and beat a hot-and-cold Houston 104-92 on Thursday, closing within half a game of the NBA Northwest Division lead. Elsewhere, league leader... Full story
Lionel Messi scored twice, including one brilliant individual effort, in his first start of the year as Barcelona beat Getafe 2-0 in the second-leg of their Copa del Rey last-16 tie to progress 6-0 on aggregate.... Full story
Real Madrid can pile the pressure on La Liga leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid by moving into a three-way tie at the top of the table with a win away to struggling Real Betis today. Madrid closed the gap on their title... Full story
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho insisted on Friday the club were ‘not desperate to win the Premier League title’ this season, saying he was more concerned about long-term success. And ahead of his side’s match... Full story
Defending champion Novak Djokovic charged into the Australian Open fourth round Friday and Serena Williams smashed the 39-year-old record for wins at the tournament as a sweltering heatwave finally eased. Djokovic, gunning for a fourth... Full story
Arsene Wenger says the January transfer window should be scrapped and believes few big deals will go through before it closes at the end of the month, the Arsenal boss said on Friday. ‘I would sign (up) for the January... Full story
Robin van Persie is convinced under-fire Manchester United manager David Moyes will eventually prove a success at Old Trafford. Moyes has endured a miserable start to his reign as United have struggled to mount a strong defence... Full story
It is a matter of time until Manchester City become the first English side to complete an unprecedented quadruple trophy haul in a single season, captain Vincent Kompany said on Thursday. City are still challenging for... Full story
Barcelona playmaker Xavi came off the bench against Getafe on Thursday to mark his 700th appearance for the club where he has been a key figure in their success in recent seasons. The 33-year-old came... Full story
Barcelona will be without Neymar for between three and four weeks after he badly twisted an ankle in Thursday’s Copa del Rey win at Getafe, the Catalans announced on Friday. ‘Tests carried out this Friday... Full story
Zidane collects diploma in sports management France legend Zinedine Zidane, currently working as an assistant to coach Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, on Thursday graduated with a diploma in sports management at the... Full story