Madrid, Nov 12 (IANS) Lionel Messi scored twice as FC Barcelona won 4-2 away to Mallorca in a game that had threatened to get more complicated than it had looked after 54 minutes.
The win Sunday maintains Barca's lead at the top of the Primera Liga table and extends their record start to 31 points from a possible 33 after 11 matches, reports Xinhua.
Barcelona coach fielded Gerard Pique in a back line which also included Dani Alves, Javier Mascherano and Jordi Alba. It was the 15th different defence Barca have used in all competitions this season.
Mallorca went into the match on the back of a run of five straight defeats.
The game looked to be virtually over by halftime as Barcelona went 3-0 at the break. Tito Vilanova's side controlled the ball from the start, but were struggling to create chances against a well-organised defence until midway through the first half when Xavi Hernandez netted a fine free kick.
Ciristian Tello was causing problems for Mallorca by opening the full width of the pitch, but it took a dreadful error from Mallorca keeper Dudu Aouate to allow Messi to double Barca's lead two minutes before the break.
Messi's shot from outside the area didn't look to carry much of a threat, but Aouate fell over it and the ball ended in the back of the net.
A minute later Tello cut inside from the left and curled a right foot shot into the far corner of the net to make it 3-0.
The second half began with the clear prospect of being merely to fulfill obligations, but Mallorca came out fighting. Michael Pereira scored from close range after finding space on the left and Victor Casadesus then netted a penalty after handball from Sergio Busquets with 32 minutes still remaining.
Once again Barca had gone to sleep in defence as they had done recently away to Deportivo, but Messi's second of the night with 13 minutes remaining assured the points went to Barcelona.
Messi has scored 76 goals in 2012, beating Pele's mark of 75 from 1958 and brings him close to Gerd Muller's all time record of 85 goals in a calendar year.