La Liga

Majestic Messi bangs in four against Eibar in La Liga's best performance

The Argentine was in devastating form for the Blaugrana as they returned to the top of the table

 
10:00am on Monday 24th February 2020
By
Martin Macdonald
Lionel Messi
W (R), F (C) - Barcelona - 32 yrs
MAN OF THE MATCH
90'
10
Feb 22, 2020

Lionel Messi scored four of the five goals as Barcelona demolished Eibar 5-0 in a result which took them beyond Real Madrid to the summit of La Liga.

Right from the get-go, he looked in the mood, and opened the scoring 14 minutes in with a goal which can only be described as vintage Messi. After collecting the ball on the edge of the box, he dances past a couple of tackles, including via a delicious nutmeg on Anaitz Arbilla, before guiding a strike into the right corner.

Then, to double his lead, he ran beyond the Eibar defence into the box from the left channel, showing a superb burst of speed to finish low across into the same corner as his first.

To earn his hat-trick, he scored a tap in goal after initially attempting to set up Antoine Griezmann when he should have shot himself, benefiting after the ball bounced back to him. The fourth was a display of outrageous composure as he received the ball to feet a few yards out before twice feigning to shoot to send the goalkeeper to the floor, allowing him to finish.

He had 11 touches inside the opposition box which was more than anyone in the league apart from Karim Benzema and Emerson Royal, who had 11 also.

Aitor Fernández
GK - Levante - 28 yrs
MAN OF THE MATCH
90'
9.1
Feb 22, 2020

In order for Barcelona to top the league again, they had to rely on Levante taking something off Real Madrid, which is exactly what happened after Los Blancos were defeated 1-0.

Vital to that clean sheet was the performance of keeper, Aitor Fernandez, who made no less than eight saves to deny Real Madrid a goal.

None of the stops were particularly groundbreaking, but it was his solidity and composure in making them which oozed confidence throughout the team.

The best of the bunch arguably came from a fizzing strike from Luka Modric which was palmed to the left.

Sergio Canales
AM, M (C) - Real Betis - 29 yrs
MAN OF THE MATCH
90'
8.9
Feb 21, 2020

In one of the games of the weekend, Betis drew 3-3 at home to Mallorca, with Sergio Canales unlucky not to be on a winning side after a cracking outing for the Andalusians.

He played a part in the first and third goals for the hosts, initially sending a lovely penalty into the bottom left corner for his individual strike.

Then, he turned provider for Joaquin after sending the veteran winger down the left wing with a threaded pass.

He completed 59/64 attempted passes and enjoyed 88 touches.

Darwin Machís
AM (L), F (C) - Granada - 27 yrs
MAN OF THE MATCH
78'
8.9
Feb 23, 2020

Darwin Machis started Granada's game against Osasuna like a house on fire as he scored the opener with just four minutes on the clock, lashing a deflected strike past the goalkeeper from the left of goal.

Even though there was a slight element of fortune for that first goal because of the deflection, there was nothing lucky about the second which was scored in the 28th minute. After darting beyond the Osasuna defence again, he proceeded to smash an emphatic finish over the keeper.

He had five shots in total, and sent two successful crosses into the area.

Koke
M (RC) - Atletico Madrid - 28 yrs
MAN OF THE MATCH
90'
8.7
Feb 23, 2020

Atletico Madrid enjoyed the best week of their season so far, as after defeating Liverpool in the Champions League they followed that up with a potentially vital 3-1 win over European qualification rivals, Villarreal.

Koke put in a talismanic performance for the Colchoneros, contributing to two of the goals. It was his header after a signature late run into the box which turned the scoreline around to 2-1 after they initially went behind.

Then, he set up the third and final goal to take the game beyond Villarreal after sending a short pass to the feet of Joao Felix, who subsequently scored..

Along with Isco and Sergio Canales, he had the best tally for passes sent into the final third, with 36.

HONOURABLE MENTION

Real Sociedad's excellent recent form continued with an impressive 3-0 home victory against Valencia, with Aritz Elustondo (8.4) emerging as the man of the match. He gained an assist, and also won 5/7 duels and 4/6 aerial duels.

ROUND TO FORGET

Osasuna were defeated 3-0 at home by Granada, and not only did goalkeeper Sergio Herrera (4.9) concede three, one was due to a direct error from him, while he only managed one save all game.

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