herald

Monday 11 December 2017

Messi magic snatches win

Sharp thinking and brilliant execution by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo lifted Barcelona and Real Madrid to wins at Atletico Madrid and Rayo Vallecano respectively yesterday, as Real maintained a 10-point lead over their great rivals at the top of La Liga.

Messi caught the Atletico defence napping to score with a breathtaking 81st-minute free kick and secure a 2-1 success for Barca, while an audacious Ronaldo backheel gave Real a 1-0 victory against Madrid neighbours Rayo. It was a 28th league goal of the campaign for Messi -- who succeeded Ronaldo as World Player of the Year and has won the award three times on the trot -- leaving him one behind the former Manchester United forward at the top of the La Liga scoring chart.

With 24 of 38 matches played, Jose Mourinho's Real have 64 points, with Pep Guardiola's Barca in second on 54, and Valencia, who lost 2-1 at home to Sevilla yesterday, 14 points further back in third.

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