Morocco's Nabil El Zhar Scores in Leganes Defeat to Barcelona

08 Abril, 2018, 05:43 | Author: Gregg Anderson
  • GETTYPele has had his say on whether Neymar is more like Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo

Barca have now gone 38 top-flight matches without defeat, levelling the previous best mark by Real Sociedad which has stood since 1980.

After being picked out by Philippe Coutinho, Messi then doubled the score-line, holding off two defenders before finding the net with a trademark finish, which he nearly passed into the goal.

Barcelona is now seven games from an unbeaten La Liga season, with 12 points above second-placed Atletico Madrid.

Barca are going into the game off a hard-fought 4-1 win at home to Roma in the Champions League on Wednesday, and the lack of recovery time plus the prospect of the return leg in Rome on Tuesday means Valverde will look for fresh legs against a rival in the lower half of the Liga Santander with little but pride to play for.

However, Valverde says that - and the possibility of becoming the first-ever side to go a whole season unbeaten in Spain's top flight - is not something on his mind.

He moved to PSG last summer after failing to usurp Messi as Barcelona's top dog though reports suggest the Brazilian is looking for a move away from the French capital.

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After his team-mate's big miss, Messi took over the show.

Messi curled in from a free kick to break the deadlock in the 27th minute. Coutinho raced infield and delivered an inch-perfect pass which the Argentina global took in his stride while holding off two defenders before sending a left-footed strike into the bottom corner from 15 yards.

And Barca's seemingly complacent outlook on the latter 45 was punished with just over 20 minutes remaining as Leganes forced themselves back into the contest through El Zhar; whose well-struck drive from the edge of the area flew past Marc-Andre ter Stegen to halve the deficit.

The visitors threatened again when an unmarked El Zhar headed off target from 12 yards after being found by Darko Brasanac, as Barca appeared to take their foot off the gas.

Messi fittingly marked the occasion with a hat-trick, finding the net twice in the first half - including a glorious free-kick - before rounding out the scoring in the 87th minute.

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