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A week ahead of the trip to the Bernabeu, Barça put seven past Osasuna to build on the clear improvement they showed against Manchester City in midweek. With Leo Messi at his lethal best – the Argentinean scored another hat trick and became the Club’s all time leading scorer – Martino’s side stormed to a seven goal thrashing and laid down a marker ahead of next week’s big game.
With just Piqué, Cesc and Neymar rested from last Wednesday’s game against Manchester City, Barça sent out a strong looking team against the struggling Basques, but the visitors weren’t overawed and early on had an Oriol Riera goal disallowed for offside after Valdés had only been able to parry an Armenteros shot, as Barça struggled to move through the gears.
That soon changed when Messi rounded off a great team move to score his historic goal number 369 and equal Paulino Alcántara as the Club’s all time top scorer. Pedro began the move down his wing, squaring the ball to Xavi, who in turn spread the ball wide to Alexis for Messi to hit home the Chilean’s cross. A few minutes later, Alexis himself was unlucky not to round off another great move, when his subtle flick just went over.
The Barça number 9 was clearly keen on showing his credentials ahead of next week and was rewarded with the second goal, nicking in ahead of his marker after Alba and Iniesta had combined down the left. Iniesta was now leading the team, as they completely dominated possession and the Spanish midfielder fully deserved the third – an impressive left foot drive just past the half hour mark. There were no more goals before the break, but the visitors’ heads had already begun to drop as Barça came at them from all angles with some beautifully crafted football.
There was no rest for the Pamplona team after the break either, as Barça kept up the same intense pressure and although Riera and Arribas both had good chances to cut the lead, Pedro came closest after a lovely piece of skill got him into the box.
Leo - 371 and counting!
With the points in the bag, Martino took off Xavi, Alexis and Mascherano, but there was still plenty of magic to come. On 62 minutes, Messi somehow got clear of two defenders and after a sharp one-two with Iniesta fired home the fourth to take his personal tally in a Barça shirt to 370. The Camp Nou crowd showed their appreciation and their reaction gave the team that extra lift to bomb on in the last half hour.
Messi’s hat trick looked to have come when he got on the end of an inch perfect Pedro cross, but his effort when inches over, then the Osasuna keeper Andres pulled of a great stop to deny the Argentinean. There was nothing he could do about the fifth goal though, a brilliantly struck curler from the edge of the box by Tello (78 mins) – with almost his first touch after coming on for Alexis a minute earlier
But Messi wasn’t to be denied his hat trick and with two minutes left on the clock, he latched onto a through ball from Alves and shot past Andres with his right foot to make it 371 goals – and counting! Pedro had been tireless all night and he fully deserved his injury time goal that made it seven and rounded off a stunning attacking performance from the team.
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