MADRID: Barcelona celebrated the 50th anniversary of their Nou Camp on Saturday and Argentine sensation Lionel Messi ensured the party continued all night by scoring twice to sink Primera Liga title rivals Sevilla 2-1.
The 20-year-old was central to the 3-0 win over Olympique Lyon in the Champions League on Wednesday and carried his team to victory once more with two late goals in the Nou Camp.
The first was a spectacular volley and the second a penalty, and only a fine save from Andres Palop denied him a hat-trick.
Frederic Kanoute pulled a goal back for Sevilla at the very end but it was too late to stop Barca claiming all three points as they moved up to second place a point behind Real Madrid.
Sevilla, who suffered their first league defeat, are third three points off the pace but with a game in hand of Barca.
Earlier, striker Javi Guerrero scored two stylish goals to earn Recreativo Huelva their first victory of the season with a 2-1 comeback win at home against Espanyol.
Andres Iniesta started for Barca in place of Ronaldinho, who pulled out of the squad with a muscle strain earlier in the day, and he was heavily-involved in a breathless opening.
Iniesta and Messi drove their team forward from the flanks but it was Sevilla, decked out in a garish pink strip, who carved the first clear opening at the Nou Camp.
Renatos header in the 21st minute struck the outside of the post but the teams appeared to cancel each other out after that. It was not until the later stages that the game came to life.
In the 70th minute Rafael Marquez, who had already headed against the post, put Thierry Henry through with a long pass but Palop just got his hand to the shot and the ball bobbled on to the post.
However, he could do nothing about Messis opener in the 72nd.
Henry threaded a pass into the area and Messis control flicked the ball into the air before the Argentine acrobatically hammered the ball into the net with a flying volley.
Seven minutes later, substitute Giovani dos Santos was wrestled to the ground by Christian Poulsen for a penalty.
Messi sent Palop the wrong way from the spot and Barca threatened to run riot.
Sevillas Renato put Mali striker Kanoute through to score in a one-on-one in injury time.
·Barcelonas Nou Camp is to have a radical new US$350mil face lift when it is remodelled by British architect Norman Foster, the Primera Liga club said on Saturday.
The 50-year-old stadium will be enveloped in a mosaic veil of coloured tiles, a mixture of polycarbonate and coloured glass panels. Integrated within the tiles of the outer skin will be special lighting elements, which will mean the external facade can be used for animated lighting displays. Reuters