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Mastery from Lionel Messi; misery for Real Madrid

Argentinian Messi, who on Sunday broke Gerd Muller’s record for the most number of goals scored in a year, took his 2012 tally to 88 as Tito Vilanova’s side enjoyed a comfortable fifth-round first-leg outing in Andalusia.

Messi’s goals were both close-range affairs but more than enough to keep Barcelona on course for the next round.


Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against Cordoba yesterday. Pic/Getty Images

Meanwhile, the progression of Real Madrid does not look as secure, although Cristiano Ronaldo’s late goal at least ensured that they headed back to the capital with a 2-1 loss against them and not a 2-0 one.

Mario Bermejo had put Celta ahead 11 minutes after the break with a low, back-post finish and Madrid, lagging in the title race, were in disarray when substitute Christian Bustos scored two minutes after his 76th-minute arrival.

But Ronaldo’s strike with four minutes left swung some momentum back in the favour of Jose Mourinho’s hapless men.

Jose Mourinho admitted his Real Madrid side deserved nothing from their Copa del Rey clash at Celta Vigo but backed his players to turn around the tie in the second leg at the Bernabeu.

There was also a shock in the fourth round tonight, as Athletic Bilbao were knocked out by Segunda B side Eibar.

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