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Update La Liga: Messi shines in his 750th Barcelona match, Luis Suarez leads Atletico win

[Image: lionel-messi-1-1609735170.jpg]

Lionel Messi set up Frenkie de Jong for a goal to help earn a 1-0 win at Huesca on Sunday in the Argentine great’s 750th overall appearance for Barcelona and his 500th in the Spanish league.

The 33-year-old Messi trails only Xavi Hernández as the Barcelona player with the most games played. Xavi played 767 games in all competitions, including 505 la Liga matches.

Messi’s latest milestone came less than two weeks after he surpassed Pelé’s all-time club scoring record for Santos by netting his 644th goal for Barcelona.

Barcelona dominated last-place Huesca but could only manage De Jong's goal in the 27th minute. Messi lobbed a pass forward to meet De Jong’s run behind the defense, with the Netherlands midfielder steering the ball inside the upright.

Coach Ronald Koeman said the goal was an example of how he wants his midfielders to join the attack, especially when Messi drifts out of the area to become a playmaker.

“It was a great pass from Messi and a good goal,” Koeman said. “And that is what I like from my midfielders. The spaces left by Messi or Pedri — we have to occupy those positions.”

Huesca goalkeeper Álvaro Fernández saved Messi’s two chances, preventing him from adding to his league record of 451 goals. He blocked a free kick just before halftime and smothered shot from close range in the 68th.

Both Ousmane Dembele and Pedro “Pedri” González went close to scoring and set up teammates for good chances in a strong first half by Barcelona. Antoine Griezmann only went on as a late substitute.

Barcelona’s win came after Messi sat out a 1-1 draw with Eibar last round to recover from an ankle problem.

The victory moved Barcelona ahead of Sevilla into fifth place.

Koeman’s team is 10 points behind leader Atlético Madrid, which got a late goal from Luis Suárez to win 2-1 at Alavés.


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