Messi's 61st goal leads Barcelona past Getafe 4-0
MADRID -- Lionel Messi scored his 61st goal of the season and had two assists, leading Barcelona over Getafe 4-0 night Tuesday in the Spanish league and pulling the three-time defending champions within one point of first-place Real Madrid.
Messi capped a superb exchange with Andres Iniesta with a rising shot into the top corner in the 44th minute. Messi leads the league with 39 goals, one shy of the record Cristiano Ronaldo set last season.
Messi has scored in 12 of his last 13 games, totaling 24 goals. He is the first player to reach 60 for a club in a major European league since Bayern Munich's Gerd Mueller scored 67 goals in 1972-73.
Alexis Sanchez scored in 13th and 73rd minutes and Pedro Rodriguez in the 75th as Barcelona (24-2-6) won its 10th straight league game.
Real Madrid (25-2-4) can restore a four-point lead by winning at Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.
BLACKBURN, England -- Andy Carroll scored on a leaping header in the first minute of injury time as Liverpool won 3-2 at relegation-threatened Blackburn but lost another goalkeeper to suspension ahead of this weekend's FA Cup semifinal against Everton.
Goals by Maxi Rodriguez in the 13th and 16th minutes gave the visitors a 2-0 lead.
Backup goalkeeper Brad Jones stopped Ayegbeni Yakubu's penalty kick in the 27th, but Yakubu scored tied the game with goals in the 36th and 61st minutes, the latter a penalty kick that raised his total league goals for the season to 16. Jones was lucky not to get sent off himself when he pushed Yakubu over in the area, which led to the tying goal.
Liverpool (12-11-10) is eighth with 46 points. Blackburn (7-19-7) is 18th, behind Queens Park Rangers on goal difference.
VERONA, Italy -- Sulley Muntari scored in the eighth minute, giving defending champion AC Milan a 1-0 win at Chievo Verona that ended a four-match winless streak and regained first place in the Serie A.
AC Milan (20-5-7) has a two-point lead over second-place Juventus (17-0-14), which hosts third-place Lazio on Wednesday.
FRANKFURT, Germany -- Werder Bremen (11-10-9) tied 2-2 with visiting Borussia Moenchengladbach (15-7-8) in the Bundesliga, while Cologne (8-17-5) moved closer to relegation with a 4-0 loss at Mainz (9-12-9).
A header by defender Naldo secured the draw for Bremen, which had fallen behind to a pair of goals by Mike Hanke.
In other matches Tuesday, surging Stuttgart won 3-1 at Augsburg and Freiburg beat Hertha Berlin 2-1 to all but make sure of remaining in the top division while leaving Berlin (6-15-9) headed to relegation.
On Wednesday, first-place Borussia Dortmund (20-3-6) hosts Bayern Munich (20-6-3), which trails by three points with five matches remaining.
PARIS -- Lyon advanced to the French Cup final with a 4-0 victory over Gazelec Ajaccio, a third-division semiprofessional team.
Following a scoreless first half, Alexandre Lacazette put the visitors ahead in the 59th and Lisandro Lopez doubled the lead in the 73rd. Clement Grenier added a goal in the 80th and Bafetimbi Gomis in the 90th.
The hosts played a man short after Anthony Colinet was ejected in the 39th.
Quevilly, which plays in the same league as Gazelec, plays first-division Rennes in the other semifinal on Wednesday.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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