Messi scores 2 goals in Barca's 6-0 rout of Rayo
By Joseph Wilson ,AP
February 17, 2014, 12:02 am TWN
BARCELONA, Spain -- Lionel Messi scored two goals and set up another to help Barcelona brush aside Rayo Vallecano 6-0 and keep its share of the Spanish league lead on Saturday, while a smoke bomb with tear gas forced an evacuation during Villarreal's 2-0 home loss to Celta Vigo.
Atletico Madrid beat Valladolid 3-0 as Diego Simeone's side and Barcelona opened up a three-point advantage over Real Madrid before it plays at Getafe on Sunday.
Barcelona's big win, which included the scoring return of Neymar after a monthlong injury absence, came three days before it visits Manchester City in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.
While two of the league's top teams thrilled their fans, a device thrown onto the pitch at El Madrigal released noxious smoke, forcing the match to be temporarily interrupted in the 87th minute with Celta winning 1-0 after Fabian Orellana's goal four minutes before.
Fans and players streamed out of the stadium to avoid the irritating effects of the smoke. After a 20-minute delay, the game was restarted and Celta's Manuel "Nolito" Agudo scored from a free kick in the 90th.
Villarreal president Fernando Roig said police were looking for the person who threw the bomb. He said the device released tear gas.
Barcelona punished a visiting Rayo side intent on trying to deploy a similar precision passing attack and was unfortunate to head into halftime only up 2-0 from Adriano's second-minute opener and Messi's lob in the 36th.
The Camp Nou hosts found their finishing touch in the second half, as Messi struck again before assisting Alexis Sanchez, with Pedro Rodriguez and Neymar also adding goals.
Messi's double left him with 228 goals in league play, giving him one more than Alfredo Di Stefano and tying him with Raul Gonzalez as the competition's third all-time leading scorer. The 26-year-old Messi reached the mark in 263 league games, while Raul needed 550. Former Athletic Bilbao star Telmo Zarra holds the record with 251 goals in 277 games in the 1940s-50s.