Monday, April 19

Messi pays tribute to Maradona in Barcelona win

In a 4-0 romp against Osasuna on Sunday, Lionel Messi dedicated a goal to the late Diego Maradona on his return to the Barcelona squad.

Messi adorned a brilliant team display with a thumping strike into the top corner in the second half. Martin Braithwaite had broken the deadlock and Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho had scored either side of half-time.

In his first La Liga start of the season; Braithwaite opened the scoring for Barca. With a scruffy shot in the 29th minute, bundling the ball over the line in a goalmouth scramble. In 42 minutes, Griezmann doubled the hosts’ lead with a stunning volley from just inside the penalty area.

In the 52nd minute, Coutinho scored from close range following Braithwaite and Griezmann’s strong combination play. Ousmane Dembele saw a goal chalked off for offside in the 69th minute as Barcelona found their stride. Minutes later Messi added the fourth for real with a shot from the edge of the box.

The Argentinean then lifted his jersey to present his hometown club Newell’s Old Boys’ red and black replica kit featuring the number 10 Maradona wore during his brief spell on the Rosario side in 1993. While Barca had paid tribute before kick-off to Maradona, who played for the Catalan club from 1982 to 1984, hanging a framed, signed shirt of his above the presidential box.

In the 67th minute with an ankle problem, Clement Lenglet limped off, leaving his side with no fit first-team center backs available. Samuel Umtiti, Ronald Araujo, and Gerard Pique are already out injured.

The win leaves Barcelona in seventh place, three points behind Real Madrid in fourth, and nine behind leaders Real Sociedad with a game in hand.

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