Barcelona star Lionel Messi became the new owner of a 21st-century La Liga record this past weekend, after finding the net versus Sevilla.
The two sides went head to head at the Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium on Saturday night, with La Liga leaders Barca aiming to, at least temporarily, extend their advantage atop the Spanish top-flight table to 14 points.
Sevilla, meanwhile, no doubt had one eye on their upcoming Champions League quarter-final first-leg meeting with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, with Vincenzo Montella’s men having headed into their clash with the Blaugrana a massive 14 points off Valencia in 4th.
However, in a surprising twist, the vast majority of Saturday night’s matchup saw Sevilla and Barcelona look as though their places in the league table were reversed, with the hosts having taken a 2-0 lead courtesy of goals from Franco Vazquez and Luis Muriel, and had multiple chances to kill the game off as a contest altogether.
As such, with Ernesto Valverde’s unbeaten Blaugrana in dire need of an injection of belief and inspiration, Lionel Messi, who was left out of Barca’s starting lineup after missing both of Argentina’s friendly fixtures over the international break due to injury, was introduced off the bench just before the hour mark.
And the South American magician made his presence well known over the fixture’s final half-hour, as Luis Suarez’s acrobatic finish from a corner in the 88th-minute was incredibly added to by Messi just a minute later with a stunning long-range finish.
In finding the net, Messi managed to become the surprise sole owner of a 21st century La Liga record, as showcased below:
21 – Lionel Messi has scored 21 La Liga goals as a substitute, more than any other player in the competition in the 21st century (Walter Pandiani, 20). Impact. pic.twitter.com/LB1oZoPvKp
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 2, 2018