Messi reaches 500-goal mark, inspires Barca comeback
SEVILLE: A mesmeric Lionel Messi scored his 500th goal for Barcelona and helped the Catalan club to come from behind and beat
Sevilla 2-1 in a thrilling encounter on Sunday as the champions kept the pressure on La Liga leaders Real Madrid.
Barca were put under immense pressure from kick-off and fell behind to Vitoloâ€™s 15th minute strike.
Messi levelled just before halftime following a slew of missed chances from the hosts.
Reaching that landmark prompted Barca to tweet: â€œCounting official matches and friendlies, Messi reaches the figure of 500 goals for FC Barcelona. Well done Leo!â€
After the break, Barca took control and Luis Suarez fired in the winner in the 61st minute to save them from a second defeat in six days.
Barca stay two points behind Real, who lead the standings with 27 points. Villarreal beat Real Betis 2-0 to move up to third, three points behind Barca. Fifth-placed Sevilla, on 21 points, trail Atletico Madrid on goal difference.
Sundayâ€™s meeting between Jorge Sampaoliâ€™s relentless Sevilla and a Barcelona side smarting from 3-1 defeat at Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday promised a lot and lived up to the hype as a breathtaking end-to-end encounter ensued.
The hosts had two shots on goal inside 50 seconds, but from a Sevilla corner Barca broke forward at lightning speed and Suarezâ€™s effort from Neymarâ€™s layoff was brilliantly saved by Sergio Rico.
Sevilla remained on the front foot for most of the first-half and opened the scoring as Luciano Viettoâ€™s through ball caught Sergi Roberto unawares and Vitolo swooped in to slot past Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.
Sevilla grew in confidence and looked to grab another, Vietto firing wide from a tight angle and Vitolo crashing over the bar.
But Barca drew level following a wonderful break by Messi which drew in Denis Suarez and Neymar before the Argentine finished off.
Messi is the clubâ€™s all-time leading scorer with 469 goals in official matches and 31 in friendlies.
â€œThere is no one like him and our objective as a team is to look for Leo as much as possible,â€ Barca boss Luis Enrique told Spanish TV station Movistar. â€œThe capacity Messi has to play in any position and interpret what is happening on the field is laudable.â€
Not content with that milestone, Messi set up Suarezâ€™s winner with a precise pass to end Sevillaâ€™s 100 percent record at home in the league and Europe.
â€œComebacks like this always make a team stronger, especially when you remember no-one else has won at this ground,â€ said Enrique.
â€œIt was a wonderful game for