Four for Messi as Barca cruise past Osasuna

Madrid, Jan 28 (IANS) "Anything you can do, I can do better." That was the message Barcelona striker Lionel Messi sent to Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.

If Ronaldo kicked Sunday off with a hat-trick as his side defeated Getafe 4-0 at midday, Messi went one better with four goals in Barcelona's 5-1 home win against Osasuna Sunday night, reports Xinhua.

Barcelona looked to have recovered from last week's shock defeat away to Real Sociedad as they defeated Malaga 4-2 in the Copa del Rey last Thursday to set up a semifinal tie against Real Madrid.

Perhaps looking ahead to that game, Jordi Roura, who was in charge while Tito Vilanova is receiving cancer treatment, decided to rest players such as Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas.

Barcelona opened scoring after just 11 minutes as Xavi Hernandez kept his cool to thread a pinpoint pass to Messi to take the ball past Osasuna keeper Andres Fernandez with a magnificent swivel of his hips which left the keeper helpless.

Raoul Loe equalised for Osasuna with a powerful shot from outside the area in virtually his side's only chance of the half but Messi restored Barca's lead from the penalty spot.

To make matters worse for Osasuna, defender Alejandro Arribas saw a second yellow card for handball as he committed the penalty and his side were left to play with a man less for just over an hour.

Pedro Rodriguez made it 3-1 four minutes from halftime, although there looked to be more than a hint of offside in the goal as Dani Alves ran onto a through ball on the right wing.

Messi added two more goals in quick succession early in the second half to kill off any hopes Osasuna had of a fight back and Roura began a series of changes to rest Perdo, Xavi and Sergio Busquets.

Alexis Sanchez missed a fine chance to make it 6-1 after being set up by Messi and David Villa saw a last minute chance saved by Fernandez but that was the only disappointment as Barca warmed up nicely for Wednesday's Cup Clasico.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Bangalore vs Mumbai

On Now: Bangalore vs Mumbai

Bangalore elect to field against Mumbai at Dubai. More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as England coach

Moores gets second stint as England coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

It's getting increasingly tough for bowlers: Ajmal

It's getting increasingly tough for bowlers: Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Moores set for England recall

Moores set for England recall

The 51-year-old will succeed Andy Flower, who stepped down after five years in charge following the 5-0 Ashes defeat in Australia in January. More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »