MADRID: Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona thrashed Real Sociedad 6-1 to continue the pressure on Atletico Madrid, who beat Alaves.
Messi’s 11th and 12th goals in his last 10 games, making a total of 16 goals scored in 12 games this year.
The 33 -year -old also broke Xavi Hernandez’s record of 767 appearances for Barcelona which was equalized against Huesca last Monday.
For Barcelona, it was the ninth consecutive league win away – one game left to equal the club record – against Real Madrid on 10 April.
“The team has shown significant improvement lately. We haven’t lost a lot of league games, the only way to get back to competing for the championship.
“But we are still behind Atleti, Real Madrid are also getting stronger. We have to keep the pace until the end,” said Barca manager Ronald Koeman.
Meanwhile, Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak ensured the 1-0 lead as a result of Luis Suarez’s goal remained after saving from a penalty in the 86th minute.
Suarez’s goal was the 500th in the Uruguayan’s career, and kept the La Liga leader’s gap at four points over Barcelona.