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Dublin: 6 °C Monday 21 October, 2019

Guardiola plays down Messi penalty

The Nou Camp outfit beat Racing Santander 2-0 on the road last night thanks to a brace from the Argentine No 10.

Barcelona head coach Pep Guardiola throws back the ball last night.
Barcelona head coach Pep Guardiola throws back the ball last night.
Image: (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

PEP GUARDIOLA DOES not believe Lionel Messi’s penalty was the decisive moment in Barcelona’s 2-0 victory over Racing Santander last night.

Visitors Barca led 1-0 thanks a close-range effort from Messi in the first half of the La Liga match at Campos de Sport de El Sardinero. The away side doubled their advantage 11 minutes into the second half when Cesc Fabregas was brought down in the box, with Argentina forward Messi dispatching the resulting penalty.

While Racing effectively had no way back after going 2-0 down to the La Liga champions, Guardiola feels his team did not need the gift of a spot kick to guarantee victory.

“I do not think the penalty was decisive,” Guardiola said.  ”We controlled the entire match.”

Guardiola was satisfied with his team’s approach to a game they had to win if they were to close the gap on Real Madrid. The runaway league leaders extended their advantage at the top with victory away to Real Betis a day earlier.

“When you enter a match 13 points behind the leaders, you cannot wait and see what the opposing team will do,” he said.  ”We did things well in a match in which it was very hard for us to circulate the ball. When they play with nine or 10 players behind the ball, it is never easy to enter the (penalty) area.”

Pedro Rodriguez failed to get on the scoresheet for the seventh match in succession on Sunday, but Guardiola is not concerned about the forward’s dry spell. ”Pedro is a very important player,” he said.

“He has been so, he is so and will continue being so for a long time. He has to work like he did today. Goals come in streaks.”

Here’s Messi’s first goal on the night:

YouTube credit: OnlineCourses100

And, as he’s now over the 50-mark for the season, here they all are in three minutes. you’re welcome

YouTube credit: jackmcrobert

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