Barcelona thrash Athletic Bilbao with Messi netting brace

Barcelona thrashed Athletic Bilbao 5-1 to maintain their dominance of the Spanish Liga.

Lionel Messi's 83rd and 84th goals of the calendar year helped the Catalan club trounce Athletic Bilbao at the Nou Camp.

Two goals in three minutes - from Gerard Pique and a deflected Messi effort - midway through the opening 45 minutes put Barca firmly in the ascendancy and Adriano added a superb third in first-half stoppage time.

Cesc Fabregas notched a neat fourth soon after the break and, after Ibai Gomez had pulled a goal back with Athletic's first noteworthy attack of the match, Messi rounded things off with a brilliant fifth goal.

Messi's brace left the 25-year-old needing just one more goal to equal Gerd Muller's record of 85 in a calendar year, set in 1972.

The emphatic win consolidated top spot in La Liga for Tito Vilanova's team, whose only dropped points in 14 games this term came in the 2-2 draw against Real Madrid in October - making their start the best ever to a top-flight season in Spain.

Have your say

Related Images