Published: Mon, January 22, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Barca extend lead as Real defy crisis talk

Barca extend lead as Real defy crisis talk

Barcelona are now unbeaten through their first 20 games in La Liga, with Valencia (14 points) and Real Madrid (19) even further back than Atletico.

Messi already had two goals in the 86th minute, and would go on to grab one more assist, but it was his twisting and turning while effortlessly keeping control of the ball in his own half that had the Estadio Benito Villamarin clapping with appreciation.

Gareth Bale and Nacho also bagged braces each side of half-time and Luka Modric curled home a 68th-minute beauty as Real came back from a shock early deficit, a 23rd-minute tap-in from Adrian, to romp to an emphatic victory and ease the pressure on coach Zinedine Zidane.

Five-time Ballon d'Or victor Messi scored a brace in Barcelona's 5-0 rout of Real Betis in LaLiga action on Sunday.

The demolition in Seville saw Barca move 11 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Girona.

Betis veteran Joaquin showered Messi with praise after the match, calling him "the best in history". If anything, they're going to be more focused and look to take out any lingering frustration on Betis while potentially extending their lead in La Liga to eleven points over the next closest team.

"I don't know if much changed apart from the scoreline and that's the biggest difference".

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Drummond picked up his fourth foul early in the third quarter, sending him back to the bench. It was the first time this season, Whiteside scored 20 or more points in consecutive games.

"He is the best player there is and there ever will be".

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring a goal against Real Betis.

Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen came off with an apparent muscle injury before halftime.

Samuel Umtiti, himself returning from a seven-week injury layoff, replaced the Belgium worldwide just before half-time with Betis having been more than a match for Barca until that point.

"La Liga is not boring for us", he said when asked if Barca's commanding position could lead to complacency.

#5 That Copa del Rey defeat was a one-offEspanyol, watch out!

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