MADRID: Lionel Messi scored the fastest goal in the league as a reserve when he exploded after 136 seconds added to help Barcelona win 3-2 over Real Betis this morning.
Messi is one of the few players to be rested with Ronald Koeman looking to give priority to the Copa del Rey semi-final against Sevilla as Barca’s challenge fades in the hunt for a La Liga title.
The defeat could have been questioned but Messi equalized less than three minutes after entering the second half and then helped Francisco Trincao score the winning goal late in the game.
It was the 21-year-old’s first goal for Barcelona.
“He changed the game,” Koeman said when asked about Messi.
“It’s a bit about winning the trophy but we also have to decide when is the best time to rest the players. The trophy is the shortest route to winning the title this season.”