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FC Barcelona cruised to a 7-1 win over Osasuna at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night, with braces for André Gomes, Leo Messi and Paco Alcácer, plus a first ever Barça goal for Javier Mascherano from the spot.
All the talk in the build-up to the game was about Messi who, after his brace at the Bernabéu, reached 500 goals for the club.
An enormous flag with the message ‘Grácies Messi’ (Thank you Messi) was revealed before kick-off and it would not take long for Messi to repay the gratitude.
Stealing the ball high up the pitch, the Argentine stormed through the opposition half before dinking over the onrushing keeper for 1-0.
There were plenty of changes to the lineup that started against Madrid, and one of those who was given the nod in this game was André Gomes.
After Ivan Rakitic’s initial corner was cleared, the ball fell back to the Croatian who then picked out Gomes near the penalty spot, and the Portuguese midfielder did well to guide the bouncing ball into the corner for 2-0.
Things were going swimmingly up until that point, but if Barça needed a wake-up call that the job was not quite done, they got it at the very start of the second half.
Roberto Torres lined up to strike the free kick over into the far corner but curledinto the other past a wrong-footed Ter Stegen (2-1) and, all of a sudden, it was game on.
Mascherano almost had his first ever Barça goal when his header struck the post, shortly before Gerard Piqué’s goalbound effort.
Eventually, however, Barça restored their two goal cushion just before the hour mark. Piqué expertly brought the ball down from a corner and found the post with his strike, but Gomes was on hand to power home the rebound (3-1).
Not to be left out, Messi also got his brace just minutes later, cutting in from the right flank before placing the ball into the far corner of the net to perfection
Messi’s job was over as he was substituted, but the rest of the team were keen to continue the party. Alcácer, who had been chasing lost balls all night, finally got on the end of one, before calmly slotting home for 5-1.
Then came a moment nobody expected. Denis Suárez was fouled in the box and responsibility was handed to Mascherano. Not in the mood to mess around, the Argentine smashed the ball into the roof of the net for his first ever Barça goal.
It was also Barça’s 100th in the league this season, and the 500th goal under Luis Enrique.
There was still time for more, as Alcácer joined Gomes and Messi with a brace after rounding the keeper and slotting into the empty net to cap an enjoyable night in front of goal.
The win keeps Barça top of the table, level on points with Real Madrid, but having played one match more than their rivals.
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