Messi brace sinks Villarreal

Barcelona’s fifth straight win kept them level on points with Real Madrid, who even without Cristiano Ronaldo eased to a 4-0 victory at already relegated Granada.

Lionel Messi scored his 50th and 51st goals in all competitions to help Barcelona keep the pressure on Real Madrid in the Spanish league’s tight title race on Saturday.

Neymar and Luis Suarez also struck in a 4-1 victory over Villarreal that increased the combined goal tally of Barcelona’s trio of star strikers to 102 in the campaign.

Barcelona’s fifth straight win kept them level on points with Real Madrid, who even without Cristiano Ronaldo eased to a 4-0 victory at already relegated Granada.

 Barcelona hold the tiebreaker over Madrid, but Madrid have three matches to play after this round to Barcelona’s two. That means Madrid control their own fate as they try to dethrone Barcelona and lift their first Liga title since 2012.

“We now have three finals left,” Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. “It doesn’t matter what Barcelona does, we have to focus on our matches.”

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