Lionel Messi is a pretty good player, if you haven't heard (seriously, though, how many soccer articles start like that?). He scored two goals to lead FC Barcelona over a terrible Racing Santander side in El Sardinero (Santander) on Sunday afternoon. That was pretty much the whole story this afternoon, as Barcelona dominated Racing from start to finish, despite missing defender Gerard Piqué (who was suspended, and emo-tweeted about it), and playing a 3-4-3 formation.
Barcelona thrashed Racing. By every conceivable metric. From shots to possession to (the only one that matters) goals, Barcelona had their way with Racing's very poor defense. And it's not like Racing is the worst side in the league--they're almost the worst side in the league. But Barça has been pretty poor away from home, so there wasn't any real guarantee that they would dominate this game.
But it would be hard not to dominate with Messi playing as well as he has been over the last couple matches. He scored five goals against Bayern Leverkusen in the Champions League on Wednesday--an awesome match, and was super-ready to play this match. That's kind of a huge advantage, no matter how many emo defenders you're missing.
Messi's first goal came in the 29th minute, as Cesc Fabregas received the ball in the area and played the short Argentinian through on goal. Though the play appeared offsides at first, replays showed that Messi managed to stay onside due to some shoddy defending from Racing defender Álvaro.
His second goal came on a penalty shot, an area that has traditionally been one of the weaker aspects of his (admittedly near-perfect) game. He slotted the ball past Racing keeper Fernández easily. Though the penalty itself might have easily been called as a yellow card to Fábregas for diving instead, there is little to no chance that Barça wouldn't have found another way to score. Ho hum.