Messi landmark as Barca succeed where Real failed

MADRID Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:26am IST

L-R) Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates his goal with teammates Pedro Rodriguez, Thiago Alcantara, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta during their Spanish first division soccer match against Granada at Los Carmenes stadium in Granada February 16, 2013. It was his 300th goal for Barcelona. REUTERS/Pepe Marin

L-R) Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates his goal with teammates Pedro Rodriguez, Thiago Alcantara, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta during their Spanish first division soccer match against Granada at Los Carmenes stadium in Granada February 16, 2013. It was his 300th goal for Barcelona.

Credit: Reuters/Pepe Marin

MADRID (Reuters) - Lionel Messi helped Barcelona triumph at a venue where champions Real Madrid lost two weeks ago, scoring twice at Granada in La Liga on Saturday to pass 300 goals for the club and earn the leaders a 2-1 win.

A revitalised Granada, under new coach Lucas Alcaraz, beat Real 1-0 after Cristiano Ronaldo headed an own goal at Los Carmenes as Jose Mourinho's men were undone by hard-running and abrasive hosts.

Odion Ighalo handed Alcaraz's team a 26th-minute lead on Saturday but World Player of the Year Messi came to Barca's rescue by taking his tally of goals to 301 in 366 matches for the Catalan side.

Messi pounced to put away the loose ball after keeper Tono could only parry a Cesc Fabregas shot in the 50th minute. He then curled a powerful free kick over the wall to grab the winner in the 73rd.

The 25-year-old product of Barca's famed youth academy took his league total this season to an unmatched 37 goals and made it a record 14 consecutive league matches in which he has scored.

"It's great for him and for us that he continues to score goals," Barca full back Jordi Alba told Spanish television.

"Today we found it very difficult but in the end it was Lionel who decided the game. You can't speak highly enough about Messi."

The win put Barca 15 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid and 19 ahead of Real who are third.

Atletico visit Real Valladolid on Sunday when Real host city rivals Rayo Vallecano.

Messi joined Barca as a 13-year-old in 2000. He was given his senior debut by then-coach Frank Rijkaard four years later and has gone on to become the club's leading all-time scorer.

He has 206 goals in La Liga and 56 in the Champions League where he has been the leading scorer for the last four seasons.

Messi has also notched 24 goals in the King's Cup, 10 in the Spanish Super Cup, one in the European Super Cup and four in the Club World Cup.

(Reporting by Mark Elkington, editing by Alison Wildey and Tony Jimenez)

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