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Published: Sun, April 16, 2017
Sport | By Desiree Waters

Lionel Messi fires Barcelona into lead with stunning strike against Real Sociedad

Lionel Messi fires Barcelona into lead with stunning strike against Real Sociedad

Lionel Messi netted a brace and bagged an assist to inspire FC Barcelona to a 3-2 win over Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou.

The Argentina global struck twice in the first half to take his tally for the Catalans to 498 goals in all competitions, before an own goal from Samuel Umtiti shortly before the break helped the Basque side back in the game.

Messi then set up Paco Alcacer - who replaced the suspended Neymar - to make it 3-1, with Xabi Prieto quickly responding to make it four goals in the last eight minutes of an enthralling first half.

The result keeps Luis Enrique's side three points behind leaders Real Madrid, who beat Sporting Gijon 3-2 earlier on Saturday and have a game in hand.

Barcelona host Juventus on Wednesday in the Champions League quarter-final, having lost the first leg 3-0 in Italy.

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Rolling into the second half, fans of both teams were certainly on the edge of their seats. "I just wanted to win this". They stifled any bit of flow that existed in the game and turned it into a review-driven free-throw contest.

Sociedad, aiming to close up on the European places, reduced the deficit in the 42nd minute.

He doubled the advantage by tapping home the rebound after Luis Suarez's shot was saved, before Inigo Martinez pulled one back.

As the hour mark approached, Jose found himself in space on the edge of the penalty area, but could not get his shot away.

La Real's best chance to equalise came when Asier Illarramendi's ambitious 50-yard free-kick had to be tipped over by a back-pedalling Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Suarez almost bagged a fourth goal for the home side in stoppage time, but Gerónimo Rulli produced a superb save deny the striker, as the score remained 3-2 at the full-time whistle.

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