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Relief As Messi Ends His Scoring Duck For Barcelona

Barcelona’s 3-1 win over AC Milan confirmed their passage into the next round of the Champions League last night, but the result seemed almost circumstantial.

The biggest victory was for Lionel Messi, who broke his four-game scoring duck with a brace.

There was palpable relief in the Camp Nou when La Pulga Atomica slammed his first half penalty straight down the middle, as if to make a vigorous point.

And he celebrated not with his customary impish smile and glance to the heavens, but with growl and pumped fist.

Even with Barca cruising in all competitions, Messi’s dry run in front of goal was classified as a crisis, and so Catalonia relaxed after events at the Camp Nou last night.

The way his team-mates mobbed him after his goals suggested that there was more discomfort in the Messi household of late that anybody cared to admit to.

But afterwards, it was business as usual, with every Blaugrana member blasé about Messi’s return to the scoresheet.

"Mission accomplished," midfielder Sergio Busquets Canal +.

"It was only a matter of matches and in front of goal Messi is always a machine. Today he has scored two and I hope he can continue in the same vein."

Barca boss ‘Tata’ Martino echoed the sentiment that it was simply inevitable that Messi would score again sooner rather than later. But he also did not hide his joy at his diminutive compatriot’s personal success.

“I was never worried about Messi, because he’d already been through phases like this,” Martino told Mediaset.

“It was wonderful to see him convert all that expectation into goals tonight.

“We knew he would’ve resolved the match for us again.”

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