Messi claims new landmark as Anoeta curse is broken

Barcelona was 2-0 down against Real Sociedad before fighting back to claim the victory and break a long winless run at Anoeta.

Lionel Messi set a new goalscoring landmark as Barcelona beat Real Sociedad 4-2 on Sunday.   -  Getty Images

Lionel Messi set a new goalscoring landmark as Barcelona came from two goals down to beat Real Sociedad 4-2 and break its Anoeta curse.

A stunning late free-kick at the end of an otherwise quiet outing from the Argentina star made him the top league goalscorer for one club in any of Europe's top five divisions, surpassing Gerd Muller with his 366th La Liga goal.


Baraca ends winless streak

The Catalan giant had returned winless from its last seven trips to Sociedad in the top flight and was primed for further disappointment after falling behind to Willian Jose's 11th-minute header. 

Juanmi doubled the host's lead with a heavily deflected finish after a superb assist from Sergio Canales, but that only served to stir Barca into life and Paulinho reduced the deficit before half-time. 

Within five minutes of the restart the scores were level as Luis Suarez finished brilliantly for his 12th league goal of the season.

Suarez then grabbed a second 19 minutes from time after goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli's poor clearance proved costly for Eusebio Sacristan's men, with Messi putting the icing on the cake.

The result restores Barca's nine-point lead at the summit, elevating it 19 ahead of champion Real Madrid, breaking an 11-year spell without a league win at Anoeta in the process.

Sociedad draws first blood

Barca – without the services of injured new signing Philippe Coutinho – started brightly and Suarez was denied by the onrushing Rulli at the end of a determined run into the Sociedad box, while the keeper also had to be alert to keep out Sergi Roberto soon after.

But the visitor found itself behind as Willian Jose headed Xabi Prieto's searching cross into the ground and over Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Barca struggled to mount any meaningful response, with its play uncharacteristically sloppy and Sociedad looking the more confident team on the ball.

The home side thought it had a second when Willian Jose's deflected shot nestled into the back of Ter Stegen's net, but Ivan Rakitic had been fouled beforehand. 

Its disappointment was soon assuaged as another goal did arrive, Juanmi collecting a wonderful lofted throughball from Canales before driving his effort off Roberto and into the net.

Classic rearguard action

Ernesto Valverde's men got back into the contest six minutes before the break, Suarez laying on a simple finish for Paulinho. 

Barca threatened early in the second half, with Messi rounding compatriot Rulli, who recovered well to divert the ball behind for a corner that came to nothing.

Lionel Messi has broken Gerd Muller's long-standing record for the most league goals scored for the same club in Europe's top five divisions.

The Barcelona superstar, who equalled the tally while making his 400th La Liga appearance for the Calatan giant against Levante last weekend, netted his 366th goal in Spain's top flight against Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Messi's left-footed free-kick from 25 yards saw him overtake Muller's haul of 365 Bundesliga strikes for Bayern Munich.

Germany great Muller set the previous record while representing Bayern between 1964 and 1979, scoring his 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga matches.

But Rulli was helpless to prevent Suarez's excellent equaliser, which he curled home side-footed from just inside the box.

Valverde introduced Ousmane Dembele in place of Paulinho just past the hour mark as he sought to get a firm grip on the contest, which was by then being played in sodden conditions.

Sociedad sent a timely reminder of its remaining threat when Willian Jose climbed well to connect with a header, but his attempt was wayward.

The turnaround was complete in the 71st minute, Suarez calmly tucking in his second after Rulli's lazy-looking clearance was headed into the Uruguayan's path by Thomas Vermaelen.

There was still time for Messi to create yet more history, sending a world-class free-kick into the net to make certain of the points.

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