Magic Messi Passes Muller Mark
10 December 2012
Lionel Messi broke Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals in a calendar year as Barcelona beat Real Betis 2-1 on Sunday night.
Messi scored twice for the visitors to secure the three points despite Ruben Castro reducing the deficit for Betis.
The Argentine maestro wasted little time to surge past Muller's mark. Messi started the game on 84 goals in 2012 and went to 86 in the first 25 minutes.
In the 16th minute Messi gained possession on the right and cut into the penalty area by beating three defenders before placing his shot in the bottom corner of the Betis goal.
He then notched up number 86 shortly thereafter. Andres Iniesta provided the assist with a deft little back-heel to Messi who finished with a superb left-footed strike to break the 40-year-old record.
Castro gave Betis hope of getting something out of the game when he pulled one back in the 39th minute. Substitute Vadillo sent a clever through-ball to Castro who beat Victor Valdes with a curling shot.
The home side started the second half positively and made the Barca defence look rather fragile at times. On one such occasion Valdes nearly handed Betis the equaliser when he dropped an average cross into the area, but he recovered just in time.
There were a number of late chances for both sides as Pozuelo hit the woodwork for Betis before Messi and Jordi Alba both did the same at the other end.
The victory sees Barcelona maintain their six-point lead over Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga.