Messi scores in 18th straight league game

Last Updated: Sun, Mar 17, 2013 22:15 hrs

Lionel Messi extended his Spanish league scoring streak record to 18 games, getting two goals to move into seventh place on the La Liga career list and lead Barcelona over visiting Rayo Vallecano 3-1 Sunday.

Messi set up David Villa for Barcelona's opener in the 25th minute, and Villa returned the favor in the 40th. Messi made it 3-0 in the 57th with a delicate chip, his league-leading 42nd goal this season and 55th overall.

With his 19th multigoal game this season, Messi increased his La Liga total to 211, one more than Pahino. The 25-year-old trails only Telmo Zarra (251), Hugo Sanchez (234), Raul Gonzalez (228), Alfredo di Stefano (227), Cesar Rodriguez (223) and Quini (219).

Barcelona (24-2-2) holds a 13-point lead over defending champion Real Madrid (19-5-4) with 10 games left.

In the second division, American defender Carlos Bocanegra was dressed but did not play in Racing Santander's 1-1 home tie against Xerez. The U.S. captain hasn't played since Feb. 2.


LONDON (AP) — Frank Lampard scored his 200th goal for Chelsea, and the Blues beat visiting West Ham 2-0 Sunday to move past Tottenham into third place in the English Premier League.

Lampard scored in the 19th minute, moving with two of Bobby Tambling's Chelsea record, and Eden Hazard added a goal in the 50th. Lampard has 12 goals this season; the 34-year-old midfielder's contract expires at the end of the season and Chelsea has not offered him a new deal.

"Everyone keeps talking about the goal-scoring record," Lampard said. "I would rather people kept quiet. The important thing is trying to score goals to win games."

Lampard played for West Ham from 1995-01 and West Ham fans appeared to throw coins at him after he scored, although they failed to hit him.

Chelsea (16-6-7) has 55 points, one ahead of Tottenham (16-8-6) and five in front of Arsenal (14-7-8). The top three teams earn spots in the group stage of next season's Champions League, while the fourth-place team goes to the playoff round.

Tottenham lost 1-0 at home to Fulham, with Dimitar Berbatov scoring against his former club in the 52nd minute. American midfielder Clint Dempsey returned from a calf strain and entered at the start of the second half, his first appearance since Feb. 21.

Wigan beat visiting Newcastle 2-1 on Arouna Kone's stoppage-time goal and Sunderland was held to a 1-1 tie at home against Norwich.


AMSTERDAM (AP) — American forward Jozy Altidore scored his 25th goal of the season as AZ Alkmaar lost 3-2 at home to first-place Ajax in the Dutch Eredivisie.

With the hosts trailing 3-1, Altidore scored in the 74th minute, his 18th league goal this season.

Siem de Jong scored twice and Daley Blind once as Ajax won at Alkmaar for the first time since 2009.


MILAN (AP) — Napoli kept its slim Serie A title hopes alive with a 3-2 win over Atalanta , while AC Milan maintained its challenge for second place by beating struggling Palermo 2-0 on a pair of goals by Mario Balotelli

Edison Cavani scored twice for Napoli and Goran Pandev got the go-ahead goal in the 81st.

Juventus (20-4-5) has a nine-point lead over Napoli (16-4-8), which is two points in front of Milan (16-7-6) with nine games remaining.

Francesco Totti moved past Gunnar Nordahl into sole possession of second on the Serie A career scoring list, helping Roma beat Parma 2-0. Erik Lamala also scored for the hosts.

American midfielder Michael Bradley entered in the 68th minute. He hasn't played a full match since Feb. 24.


PARIS (AP) — David Beckham made his first league start for Paris Saint-Germain, which wasted a two-goal lead and tied 2-2 at fourth-place Saint-Etienne.

Javier Pastore scored in the ninth minute and Zlatan Ibrahimovic converted a twice-taken penalty kick in the 19th for his league-leading 25th goal. But the hosts rallied when Alex had an own goal in the 37th and Francois Clerc scored on a curling shot in the 72nd.

PSG (17-5-6) has a five-point lead over second-place Lyon (15-6-8), which lost 4-1 at Bastia on Saturday. Marseille (15-8-6) is another two points back.

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