RC Celta de Vigo upset Real Madrid with a 2-1 victory in the round-of-16 of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, while Lionel Messi scored his 21st brace to reach 88 goals this calendar year, leading Barcelona to a 2-0 win over second-tier club Cordoba.
Having broken German great Gerd Mueller’s 40-year-old record for most goals in a year on Sunday, Messi added to his tally in the 11th minute by tapping into an empty net from David Villa’s pass.
“Messi is extraordinary,” Barcelona defender Dani Alves said. “In every age there is always a player that stands out and right now he is the reference point, just like Pele and Maradona were in their time.”
Pedro Rodriguez controlled the ball in midfield and delivered a perfectly weighted long pass to the flank for Villa to cross. As goalkeeper Mikel Saizar fell to the ground, Messi tapped the ball in off the underside of the crossbar.
Messi received a cross from Alexis Sanchez to beat Saizar and score his 21st brace of the year in the 74th minute. The Argentina international forward has now scored two goals in each of the past seven matches he has started.
The 20,000 fans who filled Cordoba’s Estadio Municipal El Arcangel cheered Messi as he came on the field.
Cordoba began by launching aggressive runs deep into Barcelona’s half and goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto was forced to leap athletically to tip out a powerful shot by Lopez Garai in the fifth minute.
Cordoba’s Alberto Aguilar forced a save from Pinto when he jumped high to head the ball toward goal in the 43rd minute.
Messi found Villa with a well-timed pass in the 53rd minute, but, having beaten the offside trap, the Spain international striker shot over the bar. A powerfully struck shot by Pedro was saved by Saizar three minutes later.
At the Balaidos, Celta’s Cristian Bustos unleashed a powerful shot from outside the area into the top corner of the net in the 33rd minute after a sloppy throw-in by Madrid defender Pepe had been intercepted by Roberto Lago.
Celta’s Mario Bermejo beat the offside trap to hit a low shot past goalkeeper Iker Casillas after receiving a pass in behind Madrid’s back four by Danish midfielder Michael Krohn-Dehli in the 56th minute.
Cristiano Ronaldo latched onto an overhead pass from Xabi Alonso to pull one back in the 86th.
“They were the best team on the field, but I still think Madrid are the favorites to win in the second leg at the Bernabeu,” Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said.
Madrid forward Karim Benzema limped off in the 31st minute with an ankle injury.
Celta goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez made a good save from a bouncing shot by Luka Modric.
Also on Wednesday, Atletico Madrid beat Getafe 3-0, despite resting prolific striker Radamel Falcao.
Getafe defender Alexis Ruano fouled Diego Costa in the area and the Atletico striker converted the penalty in the 17th minute.
Atletico’s Felipe Luis pounced on a loose ball in the 79th minute to score and Gabriel Fernandez passed to Diego Costa who scored in the 87th.
Also in the last 16, Sevilla trounced RCD Mallorca 5-0, with Alvaro Negredo scoring twice.
He rose to head in his first from a corner in the 13th minute and hit his second beyond goalkeeper Dadu Aouate five minutes later.
“We’ve played at a great level and have been very effective,” Sevilla coach Jose “Michel” Gonzalez said. “It might even seem excessive to win 5-0 away from home in the Copa.”
Jesus Navas ran up the left flank, crossed a low pass to Gary Medel, who beat defender Pedro Geromel to score Sevilla’s third in the 26th minute.
Sevilla defender Alberto Botia connected with a bouncing free-kick to score the fourth in the 48th, before Antonio Luna found the net from an assist by Navas in the 85th.
“We knew it would be complicated because we faced Sevilla,” Mallorca coach Joaquin Caparros said. “We now have to lift ourselves up because on Saturday we face a very important match [against Athletic Bilbao].”
In the second leg of the Copa del Rey round-of-32, SD Eibar advanced on the away-goal rule after drawing 1-1 with Athletic Bilbao for the same overall score.
After having reached the UEFA Europa League and Copa del Rey finals last season, Athletic have had a disappointing season so far and they are 14th in the league standings.
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