Messi show as Barca wins 6-1, Bayern restores 8-point lead
ABS-CBN Sports on Feb 15, 2016 10:07 AM
The Associated Press
Lionel Messi lit up the Camp Nou on Sunday, scoring with a superb free kick and then helping to set up a hat trick for Luis Suarez as leader Barcelona thrashed Celta Vigo 6-1 in the Spanish league.
Arsenal and Tottenham grabbed late winning goals against title rivals to move two points off the lead as the race to win the English Premier League tightened up. Robert Lewandowski steered Bayern Munich to a 3-1 win at Bavarian rival Augsburg that restored the side's eight-point lead in the Bundesliga.
In Italy, Fiorentina snatched a controversial 2-1 win over 10-man Inter Milan in the battle for third place, while Lyon clawed its way back into the battle for the Champions League spots with a 4-1 thrashing of Caen in Ligue 1.
Here is a look at Europe's major action on Sunday:
Leicester started the weekend with an unlikely five-point lead but conceded in the fifth minute of stoppage time to lose 2-1 at Arsenal, with Danny Welbeck scoring the winner in his first match back after 10 months out through injury.
"This strengthens our belief that we are in the fight," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "It would have been massive for us to lose."
It was only Leicester's third loss of the season — and two of them have been inflicted by Arsenal.
Christian Eriksen didn't leave it quite so late for Spurs against Manchester City, slotting home in the 83rd minute to also seal a 2-1 win at Etihad Stadium. It will be regarded as a landmark win for a young Tottenham team that is going for the club's first league title since 1961.
Second-place Tottenham leads Arsenal on goal difference, while City's second straight home loss kept the team six points behind Leicester, with its squad beginning to look stretched as it goes for trophies on four fronts.
In the other match, last-place Aston Villa slipped to its heaviest home defeat in 81 years, losing 6-0 to Liverpool.
Barcelona's 6-1 demolition of Celta Vigo opened up a three-point lead over Atletico Madrid, which defeated Getafe 1-0 earlier Sunday. Real Madrid, which beat Athletic Bilbao 4-2 on Saturday, is four points behind Barcelona in third place. Barcelona has a game in hand.
It was an impressive victory by the Catalan club, and the performances by Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar in the second half neared perfection.
Messi started the show by curling a left-foot shot over the wall in the 28th minute, and then mesmerized the Camp Nou crowd as he helped Suarez to score in the 59th, 75th and 81st minutes.
Suarez's third goal was extra special, with him and Messi fooling everybody with a penalty kick, awarded after Messi was tripped as he rounded an opponent. Instead of shooting from the spot, the Argentina forward rolled the ball to the side for the inrushing Suarez to drive it home.
Suarez, the league's leading scorer with 22 goals, set up Ivan Rakitic's goal in the 84th and Neymar's in injury time. Suarez also hit the post in the first half.
Celta's goal was a penalty kick converted by John Guidetti in the 39th.
Robert Lewandowski scored two goals in Bayern's 3-1 win at Augsburg, starting with the visitors' first real chance in the 15th minute. Lewandowski collected Thomas Mueller's cross with his right foot, turned with a left-foot touch and fired the ball inside the far post with his right.
The Poland forward settled the match with his second goal in the 62nd, a league-leading 21st goal of the season.
Mueller claimed his 86th goal for Bayern in the 78th minute. Raul Bobadilla eluded three defenders to score Augsburg's consolation in the 86th.
Earlier, Ivo Ilicevic came off the bench to secure a 3-2 victory for Hamburger SV over Borussia Moenchengladbach that ended his side's run of six league games without a win.
United States international Fabian Johnson had put visiting Moenchengladbach ahead in the 14th minute with his fifth goal of the season.
Substitute Khouma Babacar scored in stoppage time as Fiorentina fought back to beat 10-man Inter 2-1, while AC Milan boosted its bid for the final Champions League spot with a 2-1 victory over Genoa.
Fiorentina moved up to third, two points above Roma and four above Inter.
Milan is sixth, six points behind Fiorentina, after Keisuke Honda scored one goal and helped set up another as his side extended its unbeaten streak to seven matches.
In Florence, Borja Valero cancelled out Marcelo Brozovic's opener for Inter and Babacar scored the winner just minutes after coming on, following a harsh second yellow card for Inter's Alex Telles.
"We should remain calm, we still have so many games ahead and we will continue to do what we are doing because we are doing well," Valero said. "The team never gives up and we showed that today too."
Fiorentina forward Mauro Zarate was sent off in stoppage time for grabbing Jeison Murillo by the back of the neck, while Inter midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia was shown a red card after the final whistle for sarcastically applauding the referee.
Inter refused to speak to the media after the match. Roberto Mancini's side has won just one of its past seven Serie A matches, dropping from first to fifth.
Lyon's third consecutive league win lifted the seven-time champions to fifth place in the standings, just seven points behind second-place Monaco.
While runaway leader Paris Saint-Germain looks all but guaranteed to win a fourth straight title, the fight for the second automatic Champions League spot remains wide open. After drawing 1-1 with Marseille in Sunday's late game, Nice is in third place, level on points with Saint-Etienne, which drew 1-1 with Monaco.
PSG has a 24-point lead at the top of the standings.
Lyon quickly built a two-goal lead with strikes from Samuel Umtiti and Alexandre Lacazette before Maxwell Cornet made it 3-0 in the 45th minute. Andy Delort pulled one back for Caen near the hour mark and Corentin Tolisso sealed Lyon's win seven minutes from time.