Magic Messi extends record streak

Updated 5:56 PM EST, Wed December 12, 2012
Leo Messi took his tally to 88 for 2012 after netting twice in Barcelona
Leo Messi took his tally to 88 for 2012 after netting twice in Barcelona's Copa del Rey victory at Cordoba.
PHOTO: Getty Images

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Lionel Messi scores twice to take his goal tally to 87 for 2012

The Barcelona and Argentina star has scored 32 times this season for club and country

Barca given tough time in 2-0 win away at second division side Cordoba

(CNN) —  

Lionel Messi continued his record goalscoring streak by taking his tally to 88 for the year.

The Barcelona striker scored both goals in his side’s 2-0 win at Cordoba in the Copa del Rey as Tito Vilanova’s team continued its stunning start to the season.

The Catalan side, which lifted the trophy in Pep Guardiola’s final game in charge last season, has won the competition on 26 occasions and looks in good shape to defend its title.

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Barca has won 14 and drawn one of its league games so far this season and has only suffered one defeat, which came in the European Champions League at Celtic.

But with Messi firing on all cylinders, it is difficult to imagine which team can prevent Barca from regaining the league title from Real Madrid.

Messi beats Muller’s 40-year goal record

Only last week, Messi surpassed Gerd Muller’s record of 85 goals in a calendar year, which was set back in 1972 by the former Germany and Bayern Munich striker.

Messi, 25, has two games remaining this year to set the bar even higher with La Liga fixtures against Atletico Madrid and Valladolid to come before the end of 2012.

Already his club’s leading goalscorer after moving past the 232 mark set by Cesar Rodriguez in the 1950s, the Argentine continues to defy belief.

His two goals against Cordoba means he has now scored 32 times in all competitions for club and country this season.

Messi has also scored 15 goals in his past eight starts for Barca to ensure his team remains unbeaten in domestic competition.

Playing against a Cordoba team, which is ranked below Barcelona’s B team in the second division, Messi could have had three or four goals.

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After tapping home from close-range on 11 minutes, the striker was denied on three occasions by Cordoba goalkeeper Mikel Saizar.

Messi eventually added his second of the evening with 16 minutes remaining.

He will now go up against Atletico Madrid hot-shot Radamel Falcao on Sunday with both men in fine form.

Falcao scored five in his side’s 6-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna last weekend and has netted 16 times in La Liga so far this season.

But the Colombian hot-shot was reduced to a watching role as his side eased to a 3-0 win over Getafe in the first leg of their fifth round tie.

Diego Costa struck twice and Filipe Luis was also on target as Atletico claimed a hefty advantage.

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While Messi had an enjoyable evening, his chief rival for the Ballon d’Or, Cristiano Ronaldo, endured a frustrating night as Real Madrid was beaten 2-1 at Celta Vigo.

The defending champion rested a number of players for the first leg tie and was made to pay the price as Celta claimed a deserved victory.

Mario Bermejo opened the scoring on 56 minutes before substitute Cristian Bustos unleashed a spectacular winner to net his first goal in 110 appearances.

Real had several chances to make the breakthrough against a Celta team ranked 15th in La Liga and finally grabbed a consolation when Ronaldo fired home with three minutes remaining.

That away goal leaves Jose Mourinho’s side needing just a 1-0 win to progress to the next round, where it could meet either Osasuna or Valencia.

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Elsewhere, there was embarrassment for last season’s finalist Athletic Bilbao after it was knocked out of the competition by minnow Eibar.

Eibar, which plays in the third division, had held the might of Athletic to a goalless draw in the first leg of the fourth round clash.

And it completed an historic triumph after claiming a 1-1 draw at the San Mames to triumph on away goals and set up a last-16 clash with Malaga.

Meanwhile, Sevilla claimed an impressive 5-0 win at Real Mallorca in the first leg of its Copa del Rey tie.

Spain international Alvaro Negredo scored twice with Gary Medel, Alberto Botia and Antonio Manuel Luna also on target.

In Italy, Juventus claimed a 1-0 win over Cagliari in the Coppa Italia thanks to Sebastian Giovinco’s 56th minute strike.

The game marked the return of Antonio Conte to the touchline after he recently completed a four-month ban for his alleged role in a match-fixing affair at former club Siena.

Elsewhere, Catania won 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw at Parma.

Arsenal stunned by Bradford City in League Cup

In the English League Cup, Swansea booked its place in the semifinals for the very first time in its history following a 1-0 win over Middlesbrough.

The Welsh club, which is managed by former Barcelona and Real Madrid player Michael Laudrup, joins Aston Villa and fourth-tier Bradford City in the next round with either Leeds or Chelsea set to make up the numbers.

In France, league leaders Lyon moved three points clear at the top, despite being held to a surprise tie by relegation-threatened Nancy.

It was Nancy which took the lead through Jordan Loties and the visitor looked set to win for the first time since the opening day.

But Michel Bastos struck an 83rd minute equalizer to ensure Lyon took a point.

Meanwhile, Marseille moved to within three points of the summit following a 2-1 win at Bastia in a game played behind closed doors.

Following trouble in Bastia’s home game with Corsican rivals Ajaccio in October, the game was played without any supporters in the stadium.

Mathieu Valbuena’s 15th-minute volley and an Andre Ayew penalty sealed the win with Anthony Modeste grabbing a consolation for Bastia.

Elsewhere, Lorient made it four wins from its past five games with a 2-0 triumph over Sochaux courtesy of strikes from Alain Traore and Lamine Kone.

Evian moved out of the relegation zone thanks to Cedric Barbosa’s double in a 2-0 win over Troyes.

Montpellier came from behind to see off Brest 2-1, while Ajaccio claimed a 2-0 victory over Reims.