BARCELONA — Lionel Messi scored his 650th goal for Barcelona while Antoine Griezmann struck the winner in a 2-1 home success over Athletic Bilbao in La Liga on Sunday, avenging a defeat by the Basque side in the Spanish Super Cup final.
Messi curled in a stunning free kick after 20 minutes for his milestone goal on the same day the club pledged to sue Spanish newspaper El Mundo for publishing the full details of the Argentine’s contract.
Ronald Koeman’s side recorded a fifth straight Liga win and moved above Real Madrid into second on goal difference with 40 points, 10 behind Atletico Madrid who have a game in hand.
Messi had missed a gilt-edged chance at the start when he fired straight at keeper Unai Simon and Barça spurned several more opportunities to increase their lead before halftime.
Athletic, who had won their previous five matches in all competitions in a flying start under new coach Marcelino, failed to get going but levelled in the 49th thanks to an own goal.
Jordi Alba tried to prevent Athletic’s Oscar de Marcos reaching a cross, but instead prodded into the Barça net.
The hosts struggled to respond but finally restored their lead in the 74th when Griezmann knock home a cross from Oscar Mingueza. — Reuters