Correa strike clinches Atletico win at Granada
BARCELONA: Lionel Messi scored with two scorching strikes as Barcelona hammered Alaves 5-1 on Saturday in La Liga to warm up for their upcoming Champions League clash with Paris St Germain in style.
Portuguese forward Francisco Trincao put Barca in front after a cut-back from 18-year-old debutant midfielder Ilaix Moriba and Messi thought he had doubled the lead later on when knocking in on the rebound but the goal was ruled out for a marginal offside against Antoine Griezmann.
Messi then took matters in to his own hands from outside the area and thumped the ball off the far post with such venom that it landed just inside the opposite post.
Alaves's Luis Rioja pounced on a mistake by Ilaix to reduce the deficit in the second half but Barca came roaring back with a second strike from Trincao, another long-range missile from Messi and then a fifth goal crafted by Messi and Griezmann and finished off by left back Junior Firpo.
A seventh consecutive league win took Barca up to second in the standings on 46 points, eight behind leaders Atletico Madrid.
Barca had suffered a painful 2-0 defeat to Sevilla in Wednesday's Copa del Rey semi-final first leg and Koeman rotated his side to make for fresher legs for Tuesday's first leg at home to PSG.
He rested Jordi Alba and started without Sergino Dest, Ousmane Dembele and Pedri but there was no rest for Messi, who unleashed a ferocious shot for his first goal.
He also sparked the move for Barca's third goal, racing on to a through ball and attempting to round keeper Fernando Pacheco, who succeeded in snuffing out Messi but could only parry the ball into the path of Trincao, who tucked it into the net.
Messi was hungry for a second goal of his own, however, and got one less than 60 seconds later, dribbling past two defenders outside the area and rattling a left-footed shot into the far corner.
Now toying with his prey, he released Griezmann with a delicious chipped pass and the Frenchman sent in a low cross for Firpo to complete the thrashing.
Koeman expressed his satisfaction with the team's performance after making several changes and said they were feeling confident ahead of Tuesday's showdown against PSG, who will be without an injured Neymar.
A heavily deflected strike from Angel Correa saw La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid snatch a 2-1 victory away to Granada on Saturday to get back to winning ways and move eight points clear at the top of the standings.
Marcos Llorente put Atletico in front in the 63rd minute with a low finish from the edge of the area.
But the visitors' joy was short-lived as Venezuelan midfielder Yangel Herrera equalised for Granada three minutes later following a corner, his shot flying into the net after bouncing off Llorente's trailing leg.
Atletico regained the lead in the 75th when Argentine forward Correa tried his luck inside the box and saw his desperate attempt bounce off the foot of Granada defender Jesus Vallejo and loop over keeper Rui Silva into the net.
Diego Simeone's side moved on to 54 points after 21 games, eight clear of second-placed Real and with a game in hand. Agencies