Messi scores twice to reach 50 goals again

JOSEPH WILSON Associated Press Published:

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- Lionel Messi scored twice to reach 50 goals for the second straight season and lead Barcelona to a 2-0 win at Racing Santander in the Spanish league on Sunday night.

Messi broke through Racing's 10-man defense in the 29th minute, and the three-time FIFA World Player of the Year converted a penalty kick in the 56th. After scoring 53 goals in 55 games last season, Messi has reached 50 goals in 43 matches this season -- including 13 in his last five games for Barcelona.

With 230 goals since his debut in 2004, the 24-year-old is five shy of matching Cesar Rodriguez's Barcelona club record, set from 1942-55.

Real Madrid (23-2-1) has 70 points and has a 10-point lead over three-time La Liga champion Barcelona (18-2-6).