Lionel Messi Scores Twice as Barcelona Win Friendly Against Girona

ISLAMABAD, September 17 (Online Int’l): Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona beat second-division Girona 3-1 in a preseason friendly. Messi helped set up Philippe Coutinho, back from his loan at Bayern Munich, for the first goal after 21 minutes. The Argentine scored his first after 45 minutes, spinning on the edge of the penalty area and drilling a shot in off the base of the far post. He scored his second, with a deflected shot, after 50 minutes. He went off after an hour.

Messi only returned to training at the start of last week after saying he wanted to leave the club.

Messi started Barcelona’s first friendly on Saturday, playing 45 minutes without scoring in a 3-1 victory over third-tier Gimnastica Tarragona.

“Messi is important for our competition”, said Tebas, at an event to promote the Liga sticker collection. “He is a player who was born in our competition… and hopefully he will finish his career in our league.”

Barcelona used 20 players in Wednesday’s game at the club’s training centre but neither Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez nor Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal appeared.

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