Sporting Gijon 1-3 Barcelona: Lionel Messi scores 300th La Liga goal
By Lewis Jones
Last Updated: 18/02/16 8:03am
Lionel Messi scored his 300th and 301st La Liga goals for Barcelona as they beat Sporting Gijon 3-1 at El Molinon on Wednesday to go six points clear at the top of the table.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner netted his first Barca goal nearly 11 years ago and became the first-ever player to score 300 La Liga goals on 24 minutes, with a crisp 25-yard strike into the bottom corner.
Gijon responded well and Carlos Castro finished off a flowing counter attack to level the scores just two minutes later.
The Messi party seemed to be gatecrashed but he got the ball rolling again four minutes later, scoring his 301st goal after being teed up by Luis Suarez. It was Barcelona's 10,000th goal in their history.
Suarez missed a second-half penalty but made amends by curling a wonderful effort into the top corner on 66 minutes to wrap up the three points.
The stadium was packed to the rafters in anticipation of a La Liga upset but from the first whistle, it was clear Barcelona were in no mood for wobbling.
Neymar played in Suarez on 21 minutes but Ivan Cuellar was alert to turn the ball away
His resistance was broken four minutes later as Messi - not for the first time - rewrote the record books. It was fitting that his 300th goal in Barca colours was a classy effort as he picked the ball up from 25 yards and pinged a daisy cutter into the bottom corner.
Sporting had looked dangerous on the break and it took them only two minutes to draw level, Alex Menendez breaking clear before crossing for Castro to slide home.
However, the hosts were level for just four minutes. Suarez held off two defenders in the box before setting up Messi, who finished high into the roof of the net.
Neymar curled an effort against the top of the post just before half-time.
Cuellar, who had a fine game in goal for the hosts, made his only reckless decision of the night on 61 minutes when he flew out of his goal and brought down Suarez inside the area.
After their headline-grabbing penalty at the weekend, when Messi passed for Suarez to score, Barca took the conventional route this time - only to be denied.
Suarez did not have to wait long for a goal, though, and this time it was all his own work as he curled home a sublime finish in the 67th minute as the Catalan giants pulled six points clear of Atletico Madrid.