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Barcelona´s Lionel Messi is congratulated by Celta's Gustavo Cabral after his record-breaking goal.
Barcelona´s Lionel Messi is congratulated by Celta's Gustavo Cabral after his record-breaking goal.

European football round-up: Lionel Messi claims another scoring record despite Barcelona stumble

The Argentine scored in his 19th consecutive game as Barcelona were held by relegation-battling Celta Vigo, while Bayern Munich put nine past Hamburg to move within a point of the Bundesliga.

SPAIN

Lionel Messi claimed another record to add to his already star-making season, but found his goal was not enough to earn Barcelona a win over relegation-threatened Celta Vigo as the teams shared a 2-2 draw.

The Argentina international is no stranger to treading new ground and his 73rd-minute goal meant he has scored in 19 successive Primera Division matches.

In doing so he has found the net against every other side in the Spanish top flight - the first player to ever do that in consecutive matches - and he has 29 goals from his last 19.

The goal would not be the winner, though, with Borja Oubina`s late header earning Celta a point, with Naxto Insa`s opener having been earlier scrubbed out by Cristian Tello`s goal.

"I don't want to point out individual errors," said Jordi Roura, whose team are still 13 points ahead at the top of La Liga after Real Madrid were held 1-1 by Real Zaragoza.

"We had done the most difficult bit which was to score. In the final few minutes we lacked the collective intensity needed and they have equalised."

Despite his disappointment at the outcome though, Roura did take time to laud another incredible individual achievement by Messi.

"It is a unheard of record that no one has ever achieved. This shows how great this player is. With time, what this player is doing will be valued even more."

It was a good day for Barca, however, with Messi`s latest record being set and Eric Abidal on the bench for the first time since a liver transplant over a year ago.

The France defender did not make it on to the field but his return is a significant one, as is that of coach Tito Vilanova who was not at the game but is back in the country after undergoing chemotherapy in America.

Second-placed Real Madrid missed the chance to make things slightly less comfortable for Barcelona as they were too were held by a team fighting the drop, fourth-bottom Real Zaragoza.

Madrid could have trimmed their arch rivals' lead to 11 points if they could beat Zaragoza and claim a seventh successive league victory.

However, like Barca, they had to settle for just a point with Rodri putting Zaragoza ahead early on before Cristiano Ronaldo levelled things up just before the break with his 28th La Liga goal of the campaign.

Neither side could go on to force a winner in the second half, with Marcelo hitting the post for Madrid and both goalkeepers making a number of vital interventions.

"For some time our ambition has not been to win the title again," Jose Mourinho, the Real Madrid coach, said afterwards.

"We already knew that it is a question of points, not of winning it. With the draw today we have lost second place. If Atletico in tomorrow, they will go one point ahead and this is the most important thing."

The Portuguese also stressed that his side's league form should not affect their return to Champions League action on Wednesday.

"This result will not affect us. Our objectives are the final of the cup and the Champions League.

"In the league we have already achieved finishing amongst the top three and our objective is to finish second and win every game. It will not have any influence looking ahead to Wednesday."

Malaga reclaimed fourth spot with a 3-1 victory at Rayo Vallecano.

Weligton gave Manuel Pellegrini's side the lead but Piti levelled for the hosts from the penalty spot.

Former Real Madrid forward Julio Baptista scored his first goal in 18 months to restore Malaga's lead early in the second half before Pedro Morales secured all three points with a wonderful goal.

In the evening's late game Levante won their first league match since January with a 1-0 home triumph over Sevilla.

Ruben struck the winner five minutes before half-time as Levante leapfrogged above Sevilla into 10th.

 

PORTUGAL

Lima scored a hat-trick as Benfica thrashed Rio Ave 6-1 to maintain their four-point lead over Porto in the race for the Liga title.

Early goals from Lorenzo Melgarejo and Nemanja Matic put Benfica in charge and Lima doubled the home side's lead with two strikes either side of half-time.

Rio Ave pulled a goal back in the 51st minute through Koka but the visitors then suffered a huge double setback as they had both Wires and Edimar sent off within 12 minutes of each other.

Benfica quickly took advantage with Lima completing his hat-trick in the 76th minute and Enzo Perez adding a sixth eight minutes from time, before the hosts also had a player sent off when Melgarejo saw red in the 90th minute.

Benfica, who have now scored 15 goals in their last three league games, remain clear of reigning champions Porto, who bounced back from their draw with Maritimo last time out with a 3-0 triumph at Academica.

Eliaquim Mangala's 15th-minute goal put Porto ahead and second-half strikes from Danilo and Andre Castro sealed the triumph.

Maritimo followed up their credible draw against Porto with a 4-2 victory over Vitoria Setúbal that moves them into fifth.

The game was as good as over inside the opening hour with Maritimo netting through Artur (sixth minute), Heldon (25), Suk Hyun-jun (36) and Leocisio Sami (57), and Vitoria could only respond with a late brace from Jose Pedro.

Maritimo climb above Estoril, who salvaged a 1-1 draw at third-bottom Moreirense thanks to a last-minute equaliser from Tony Taylor.

Moreirense had taken a seventh-minute lead through Nabil Ghilas while Estoril finished with 10 men following Steven Vitoria's late sending off.

Elsewhere Olhanense beat bottom club Beira Mar 1-0 with an 80th-minute winner from Lucas Quintino de Souza.

 

FRANCE

Struggling Troyes held St Etienne to a 2-2 draw, preventing their opponents from moving up to third in Ligue 1.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Brandao twice put visiting St Etienne in front, but they were pegged back by strikes from Julien Faussurier and Benjamin Nivet

Despite the nature of the draw, a point does little to improve Troyes' hopes of survival, as they are four points off fourth-bottom Brest, who take on Lille on Sunday.

Clarck N'Sikulu grabbed a last-gasp leveller for Evian as they also drew 2-2 against relegation rivals Reims.

The attacker scored in the 93rd minute for the home side as they recovered from two goals down at the Parc des Sports.

Floyd Ayite put the visitors ahead after 12 minutes before he saw red three minutes later for a dangerous tackle.

Despite that setback the 10 men of Reims still managed to double their lead in the 67th minute through Gaetan Courtet.

They could not hold on though as Yannick Sagbo pulled a goal back for the home side a minute later before N'Sikulu struck deep into stoppage time.

Bastia twice came from behind to complete a 4-3 win at Valenciennes that boosts the Corsicans' chances of staying in Ligue 1.

Remi Gomis briefly set Valenciennes on their way towards a first win in six outings but Toifilou Maoulida soon scored his first goal of a brace to level the tie.

A Gael Danic penalty sent VA into half-time with a 2-1 lead but Bastia came roaring back after the break, with Maoulida equalising before substitute Florian Thauvin settled the match with a double inside the last six minutes - his first goal coming from the spot.

Gregory Pujol squeezed in a third for the hosts in stoppage time but it was too little, too late for Daniel Sanchez's men, who remain in 12th place while both sides are eight points clear of the drop zone.

Improving Nancy claimed their second win in a week as a 2-0 victory over Rennes saw them move off the foot of Ligue 1.

Thomas Ayasse put them ahead 12 minutes from time with a stunning volley before Djamel Bakar secured all three points with a minute remaining.

Etienne Capoue scored twice to earn mid-table Toulouse a narrow 3-2 victory at Ajaccio.

The hosts led through Jonathan Zebina's own goal but Capoue levelled and Franck Tabanou put Toulouse ahead.

Adrian Mutu then made it 2-2 before the break, but Capoue grabbed the winner from the penalty spot 11 minutes from time.

Ludovic Obraniak's late strike rescued a 1-1 draw for Bordeaux after Jeremie Aliadiere had put Lorient ahead.

 

HOLLAND

Feyenoord missed the chance to go top of the Eredivisie after going down 2-0 at Heerenveen.

Ronald Koeman's men could have temporarily moved above Ajax and PSV Eindhoven with victory and even a point would have seen them go second.

But Alfred Finnbogason gave Heerenveen an 85th-minute lead before Yassine El Ghanassy ensured there was no way back for Feyenoord a minute from time.

Wout Brama's 83rd-minute strike rescued a 1-1 draw for FC Twente against NAC, who took the lead just after half-time through Kenny van der Weg.

Bottom club Willem II let a one-goal lead slip as their hopes of beating the drop took another blow with a 2-1 defeat at home to FC Groningen.

The hosts looked set for a rare win following Rob Haemhouts' strike in the 27th minute but a penalty after 66 minutes from Leandro Bacuna levelled matters before David Texeira sealed victory for Groningen shortly afterwards.

Two goals in 16 minutes set FC Utrecht on the way to a 2-1 victory over VVV.

Edouard Duplan opened the scoring in the fifth minute before Leon de Kogel doubled the hosts' lead, with Brian Linssen's effort before half-time proving mere consolation.

 

GERMANY

Brutal Bayern Munich produced a nine-goal annihilation of Hamburg to move to within one win of wrapping up the Bundesliga title.

Bayern smashed their opponents 9-2 at the Allianz Arena with Claudio Pizarro scoring four times and Arjen Robben twice.

Xherdan Shaqiri, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Franck Ribery were also on target for the rampant hosts, who led 5-0 at the break and refused to let up.

They did it all without leading scorer Mario Mandzukic, who was left on the bench ahead of Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final meeting with Juventus.

Hamburg's goals, from Jeffrey Bruma and Heiko Westermann, made it 8-1 and then 9-2 and did nothing to ease the misery.

The win moved Bayern 20 points clear of Borussia Dortmund with seven games to go and victory at Eintracht Frankfurt next Saturday will wrap up the title.

Jupp Heynckes is now on the verge of a glorious send-off as the veteran coach prepares to give way to former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola.

"Of course it was important to underpin our confidence and at times we were playing textbook football," said Heynckes.

"But Tuesday against Juventus it will be another match as they will be far more aggressive."

Dortmund kept Bayern waiting for another week at least by winning 2-1 at Stuttgart

Lukasz Piszczek gave Dortmund the lead in the 29th minute, but Alexandru Maxim's first Bundesliga goal brought the Swabians level before a red card to Georg Niedermeier tipped the scales back in Dortmund's favour.

Robert Lewandowski grabbed the winner eight minutes from time.

Bayer Leverkusen kept a strong hold on third with a 4-1 win at Fortuna Düsseldorf.

Two goals apiece for Stefan Kiessling and Andre Schurrle ensured Leverkusen maintained a six-point cushion over Schalke.

The fifth goal in the game also came from a visiting player, Daniel Schwaab's own goal all Fortuna had to show for their efforts.

Schalke scored three times in the final 20 minutes to beat relegation-threatened Hoffenheim 3-0.

Marco Hoger broke the deadlock in the 71st minute before two substitutes, Raffael and Teemu Pukki, wrapped up the victory.

Mainz dropped three points behind Schalke as they had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen, despite going ahead after 12 seconds.

Adam Szalai gave Mainz a flying start, but Aaron Hunt earned Bremen a point.

Max Kruse scored twice as Freiburg moved ahead of Borussia Monchengladbach in the race for Europa League qualification with a 2-0 win.

Third-bottom Augsburg failed to improve their chances of avoiding the drop as they lost 2-0 at home to Hannover.

Konstantin Rausch scored both goals in the second half.

 

SCOTLAND

Motherwell remained on course to secure second place in the Scottish Premier League with a 3-0 away win over rock-bottom Dundee.

Michael Higdon opened the scoring in the ninth minute and Nicky Law sealed the triumph with a second-half brace as Motherwell moved to within 12 points of Celtic, who play St Mirren later today.

More importantly though they remain three points above third-placed Inverness Caledonian Thistle, who beat Hibernian 2-1 at Easter Road.

Second-half goals from Ross Draper and Andrew Shinnie, either side of Leigh Griffiths' 23rd goal of the season, were enough to earn Caley Thistle the victory.

Inverness are now five points clear of Ross County in fourth after Derek Adams' side lost 1-0 at home to Kilmarnock.

James Fowler's second-minute goal was enough to secure the points for Kilmarnock as Ross suffered only their third SPL defeat of the season at Global Energy Stadium despite having dominated much of the match.

In the day's other match Aberdeen kept their hopes of a top-six finish alive with a 2-0 win over Hearts.

Niall McGinn scored both goals, netting 10 minutes into each half to give Craig Brown victory in his final home match as manager in front of 10,175 fans at Pittodrie.

 

ITALY

Juventus overcame the first major obstacle on the home straight of their Serie A title defence by beating 10-man Inter Milan 2-1.

League leaders Juve were also eager to avenge November's 3-1 home defeat to the Nerazzurri and Fabio Quagliarella drew first blood within the opening three minutes.

Despite Rodrigo Palacio's second-half equaliser, Inter could not break down a resilient Juventus defence and Alessandro Matri found a winner 30 minutes from time.

Esteban Cambiasso was then dismissed for a foul on Sebastian Giovinco with Inter slumping to seventh.

Napoli are still nine points behind Juve, however, after the Azzurri came out on top in a 5-3 thriller at Torino.

Blerim Dzemaili saw the first of his two hat-trick goals at the Stadio Olimpico cancelled out by Paulo Barreto and then Jonathas from the penalty spot.

Marek Hamsik had missed his first-half spot-kick and it looked like Napoli would live to regret it as Riccardo Meggiorini gave Torino the lead midway through the second half.

But the introduction of Edinson Cavani from the bench inspired Dzemaili to a third goal before the Uruguayan striker notched twice in the last six minutes to keep his side firmly in the title race.

Meanwhile, Riccardo Montolivo's first-half goal was enough for third-placed AC Milan to claim a 1-0 win over Chievo.

Montolivo decided the game in the 25th minute as the Rossoneri responded to Juve's win over Inter before Napoli kicked off.

There was then a red card for Dario Dainelli as Chievo ended the day nine points above the drop zone.

A Nicola Legrottaglie own goal and a late Antonio Candreva strike earned Lazio a dramatic 2-1 win over top-three rivals Catania.

Catania looked set to jump from eighth to fifth when Mariano Isco put them ahead after the break.

However, Lazio scored twice in two second-half minutes to snatch what could be a vital win as they moved onto 50 points.

A brace from Mauricio Pinilla saw Cagliari seal a 2-1 victory over Fiorentina.

It was a third straight win behind closed doors at the Stadio Is Arenas with Pinilla beating Emiliano Viviano early on before firing the winner from the penalty spot.

Juan Cuadrado's second-half response gave Fiorentina brief hope they could make up ground on the top three, but they remain fourth while Cagliari climb to 11th.

At the bottom of the table, Palermo closed to within three points of safety with a shock 2-0 win over Roma.

A 15-match winless streak had seen the Rosanero sliding towards relegation but an early goal from Josip Ilicic gave the home faithful reason to believe.

Fabrizio Miccoli then rubber-stamped all three points against an under-par Roma side who never really got going.

Palermo are now three points shy of 17th-placed Genoa, who drew 2-2 against Siena, while Roma drop to sixth.

Genoa and Siena eventually shared the spoils after a topsy-turvy game at the Luigi Ferraris.

Marco Borriello gave the hosts an early lead but Siena turned the game around with goals either side of half-time from Innocent Emeghara and Alessandro Rosina, the latter from the penalty spot.

But Bosko Jankovic's equaliser dumped them back into the final relegation place, one point and one place below Genoa.

Pescara are now bottom of the pile as goals from Yohan Benalouane, Gabriel Paletta and Amauri fired Parma into 10th place with a one-sided 3-0 victory at the Ennio Tardini.

Elsewhere, Antonio Di Natale missed a penalty in Udinese's goalless draw against Bologna, with mid-table Sampdoria also drawing a blank at Atalanta despite Pedro Mba Obiang going close at the death.

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