Messi sets record for Barca appearances, Mbappe leads PSG to the top
Lionel Messi celebrated becoming Barcelona’s highest appearance maker of all time by scoring twice as his rampant side crushed Real Sociedad 6-1 away in La Liga on Sunday with a stunning team display.
Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring by netting against his old club in the 36th minute and right back Sergino Dest stretched Barca’s lead shortly before halftime after latching on to a sweeping pass from Messi.
Dest struck again early in the second half before Messi controlled a sumptuous pass from Sergio Busquets and scored to mark a night in which he overtook Xavi Hernandez as Barca’s record appearance maker, moving on to 768 games with the club.
Ousmane Dembele struck his side’s fifth goal of the night in the 71st minute after a brilliant solo run while Sociedad’s Ander Barrenetxea hit arguably the best goal of the game to give his side a rare moment of joy.
Messi, however, had the final say, finishing off a flowing team move in the 89th minute to score his 23rd league goal of the season, increasing his lead at the top of the scoring charts.
The victory took Barca above Real Madrid into second place in the standings on 62 points, four behind leaders Atletico Madrid with 10 games left to play.
In France, Kylian Mbappe became the youngest player to score 100 goals in Ligue 1 when his double powered Paris St Germain to a 4-2 win at Olympique Lyonnais and to the top of the standings.
The 22-year-old France striker netted either side of the interval with Angel Di Maria and Danilo Pereira also getting on the scoreboard to put PSG on 63 points from 30 games.
The French champions, who welcomed back Neymar after a six-week injury layoff, are ahead of Lille on goal difference after the northerners slumped to a 2-1 home defeat against Nimes earlier on Sunday.
Lyon, who pulled two goals back through Islam Slimani and Maxwel Cornet, are third on 60 points, one ahead of fourth-placed Monaco.
Mbappe put the visitors in front when he fired home from an angle after Marco Verratti’s fierce strike had been parried into his path by keeper Anthony Lopes.
Pereira doubled the advantage 17 minutes later with a half volley as PSG stamped their authority on the game with quick passing in midfield, composure at the back and speed up front.
Di Maria added another goal two minutes into the second half with a free kick, before Mbappe, played through by Verratti, slotted the ball past Lopes after outrunning Marcelo in the 52nd minute.
With 84 league goals for PSG and 16 for Monaco, Mbappe is the youngest player to reach the 100-goal milestone in the French top division after Herve Revelli, with St Etienne, in 1969.
“When I scored the (team’s) fourth goal, the first thing I thought about was the fifth,” said Mbappe.
“It’s an important milestone in my career but I’m still very young and I can improve.”
Slimani reduced the arrears with an 18-meter shot before Mbappe asked to be substituted.
He walked off the pitch without any apparent pain with 20 minutes left to be replaced by Neymar, who made his first appearance since picking up an adductor muscle injury in a French Cup game against Caen on February 10.
Cornet added another goal for Lyon nine minutes from time with a fine 16-meter attempt that a fully-stretched Keylor Navas could not touch.
In Italy, Benevento dented Juventus’ Serie A title hopes as Adolfo Gaich’s second-half strike sealed a shock 1-0 victory in Turin and ended the relegation battlers’ 11-match winless run.
In England, Tottenham bounced back from a shock Europa League exit to Dinamo Zagreb with a 2-0 win at Aston Villa to rekindle their hopes of a top-four Premier League finish.
Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho scored two poacher’s goals as they beat Manchester United 3-1 in their FA Cup quarter-final to set up a last-four clash against Southampton.