Barcelona 5-0 Eibar: Marvellous Messi flexes his muscles ahead of pivotal week

By Sports Desk February 22, 2020

Lionel Messi was in inspirational form as he scored four goals – including a first-half hat-trick – to lead Barcelona to an easy 5-0 win over Eibar at the end of a difficult week for the club.

Messi had gone over a month without a goal in LaLiga before Saturday but once he found his groove there was no hope for hapless Eibar, as Barca's talisman tore the visitors apart at will.

Much of the build-up to the contest had been dominated by off-field matters, including the controversial out-of-window signing of Martin Braithwaite and president Josep Maria Bartomeu denying the club hired a firm to "damage the image" of players past and present, including Messi.

Yet Messi appeared unencumbered by the controversies, the Argentina superstar scoring a wonderful treble in the first half before adding a fourth after the break. A goal for Arthur late on completed a handsome triumph ahead of a potentially season-defining week, which includes clashes with Napoli and Real Madrid.

The white handkerchiefs were being waved with vigour in the direction of Bartomeu by many supporters even before kick-off, and for a moment early on in the contest they looked to have another reason to fume, as Sergi Enrich emphatically headed in Jose Angel's cross.

But the offside flag spared Barca from falling behind and Messi soon took charge, opening the scoring with a remarkable goal – coolly clipping a delicate effort past Marko Dmitrovic having nutmegged Anaitz Arbilla and held off Papa Diop.

It was 2-0 in the 37th minute, Messi again driving into the box and picking out the bottom-right corner with aplomb.

And he swiftly completed his treble, turning in from close range after Antoine Griezmann wasted an opportunity to shoot.

The hosts appeared to ease off after the break, with the only notable opportunity before the hour-mark seeing Ivan Rakitic thwarting by Dmitrovic after Griezmann's cross.

However, Barca eventually increased the deficit in the final three minutes – Messi scoring his fourth after toying with the Eibar defence before Arthur's straightforward finish, with substitute Braithwaite showing his usefulness by having a hand in both.

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: PSG expect Neymar & Mbappe to stay, Barca rebuffed by Inter, De Ligt wanted by Madrid Rumour Has It: PSG expect Neymar & Mbappe to stay, Barca rebuffed by Inter, De Ligt wanted by Madrid
  • On this day in sport: The Olympics are reborn, Messi and Bayern go goal crazy On this day in sport: The Olympics are reborn, Messi and Bayern go goal crazy

    There will be no Olympic Games in 2020, but 124 years ago saw the rebirth of the great sporting spectacle.

    Arsenal were swept aside by the brilliance of Lionel Messi in a thrilling Champions League game at Camp Nou, while Bayern Munich brought an end to Borussia Dortmund's hopes of dethroning them in the Bundesliga.

    Robert Parish set a record for the most NBA games appeared in, and Sri Lanka got their hands on the World Twenty20 trophy at the expense of India.

    We look back at some of the standout sporting moments that have happened on this day.

     

    1896 – The start of a new Olympic era

    The ancient Greek tradition of the Olympic Games got back under way 1,500 years after they were outlawed by Roman Emperor Theodosius I in a bid to suppress paganism.

    Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin was pivotal to their revival, spearheading the formation of the International Olympic Committee in 1894 and subsequently the first Games of the modern era, which were held in Athens.

    A crowd of 60,000 people turned up for the start of a spectacle that saw 280 participants from 13 nations take part in 43 events.

     

    1996 – 'The Chief' makes NBA history

    In a meeting between the Charlotte Hornets and the Cleveland Cavaliers, towering center Parish played his 1,561st NBA game to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and set a new record.

    He had 14 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three blocks in the 93-89 win over the Cavaliers.

    Parish made his name with the Boston Celtics, with whom he won three NBA championships, and had made 1,611 appearances across 21 seasons when he called it quits after claiming his third ring with the Chicago Bulls in 1997.

     

    2010 – Messi fires against Gunners

    Arsenal came back from 2-0 down to draw the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona 2-2, and Nicklas Bendtner put the Gunners ahead in the return match at Camp Nou.

    However, Messi flashed a stunning effort past Manuel Almunia two minutes later and, after slotting home a pass from Pedro, he had a hat-trick before the break thanks to a brilliant chip over the Arsenal goalkeeper.

    An excellent solo effort sealed a 4-1 triumph in the 88th minute that sent Barca through to a semi-final with Jose Mourinho's Inter, who stunned them at Camp Nou and went on to claim the treble.

     

    2014 – A T20 first for Sri Lanka

    Some excellent death bowling from Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara limited India to a below-par 130-4 in a thrilling World T20 final in Dhaka.

    Despite slipping to 65-3 in their chase, Sri Lanka surged to their first title by securing a resounding six-wicket victory with 13 balls remaining.

    Kumar Sangakkara made an unbeaten 52 in his final T20I and Thisara Perera blasted 23 off 14 deliveries, which included three sixes.

     

    2019 – Dortmund obliterated in Der Klassiker

    Bayern's chances of clinching a seventh straight Bundesliga title were in danger of being blown apart when Dortmund arrived at the Allianz Arena for the 28th round of matches with a two-point lead at the top, though their advantage had stood at nine points in December.

    The Bavarian giants made light work of Lucien Favre's side in a brutal display of supremacy, storming into a four-goal lead by half-time thanks to efforts from former Dortmund duo Mats Hummels and Robert Lewandowski, as well as Javi Martinez and Serge Gnabry.

    Lewandowski tapped in a cross from Thomas Muller with a minute remaining to complete BVB's 5-0 humiliation, a result that ended their hopes of dethroning Bayern.

  • Coronavirus: Fairer to end LaLiga season now, says former Barca star Stoichkov Coronavirus: Fairer to end LaLiga season now, says former Barca star Stoichkov

    Former Barcelona star Hristo Stoichkov believes it would be fairer to end the LaLiga now, scrap relegation and promote two teams from the second division amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    LaLiga has been postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19, which has led to more than 12,640 deaths in Spain and over 69,450 globally.

    Reigning champions Barcelona held a two-point lead over bitter rivals Real Madrid when the league was stopped, while Cadiz and Real Zaragoza occupied the promotion places in Segunda Division.

    Stoichkov – who won five LaLiga titles and a European Cup among other honours during his time at Camp Nou – feels Barca should be crowned champions if no more games are played in 2019-20.

    "If we see how the situation is, with the matches which have been played, it would be fairer to end the La Liga season as it is now," Stoichkov told Cope program Tiempo de Juego.

    "Many teams could stay up at the bottom, there are a lot of matches left.

    "They could leave the league as it is, have no relegation and the top two from Segunda could get promoted to have a 22 team league. Because they have also done a lot of work to win many matches."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.