La Liga

Messi eyes record as Barcelona wins

Barcelona's Lionel Messi
Messi is one goal shy of Gerd Mueller's record of 85 for club and country in one year.
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BARCELONA, Spain (AP)

LA LIGA RESULTS

 
Friday, November 30
Home Road
Osasuna 1-0 Vallecano
Saturday, December 1
Getafe 1-0 Malaga
Valencia 2-5 Sociedad
Barcelona 5-1 Bilbao
Real Madrid 2-0 Atletico Madrid
Sunday, December 2
Granada 0-0 Espanyol
Deportivo 2-3 Real Betis
Celta 1-1 Levante
Mallorca 1-1 Zaragoza
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Lionel Messi scored twice Saturday as Barcelona made the best start in the history of the Spanish league on Saturday with a 5-1 home win over Athletic Bilbao.

The leader's 13 wins and a draw in the opening 14 rounds surpasses Real Madrid's 12 wins and two draws to begin the 1991-92 campaign.

The milestone, unmatched in 81 previous seasons, came in the first year under coach Tito Vilanova, who took over from Pep Guardiola in offseason after four campaigns as his assistant.

Messi's 11th double of the season left him one goal shy of Gerd Mueller's record of 85 for club and country in one calendar year, set in 1972.

The 25-year-old Messi, who couold become the first player to win the FIFA world player of the year award four times, has scored 28 times this season, including a league-leading 21 goals.

Barcelona led 3-0 by halftime thanks to goals by Gerard Pique, Messi and Adriano. Cesc Fabregas and Messi scored after halftime.

Barcelona has a 14-point lead over Madrid ahead of the defending champion's game against Atletico Madrid later. Atletico is aiming to break a 13-year winless run against its fierce rival.

Early at Camp Nou, Bilbao did its best to fight for possession with Barcelona and force the hosts' defenders to start their attacks with Xavi Hernandez and Fabregas well marked in midfield.

With its passing game temporarily held in check, Barcelona turned to a set-piece to break through. Pique pounced on the rebound of Fabregas' shot from a corner that goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz did well to block to open the scoring in the 22nd.

Messi then struck to double the advantage three minutes later as Xavi met his well-timed run. Messi latched onto the ball, brought Iraizoz to the ground by dribbling across the area, before flipping a shot over the `keeper that scrambling defender Fernando Amorebieta couldn't keep out of the net.

Bilbao's defensive discipline crumbled, and moments after Messi hit the crossbar, Fabregas threaded a pass through the defense for the streaking Adriano to finish his run down the right flank with a blast over Iraizoz.

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The hosts kept pouring it on after halftime as Iniesta found Fabregas unmarked and with time to pick his spot and fire between Iraizoz and the near upright in the 57th.

Ibai Gomez got Bilbao's consolation goal in the 65th.

Messi recorded a double for the fifth straight game five minutes later when he evaded a defender with one touch before curling a strike into the far side of the net.

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