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Sep 15, 2012

Lionel Messi scores 2 off the bench

Lionel Messi climbed off the bench to score twice while his fellow replacement David Villa was again on the mark as Barcelona continued its 100 percent start to the new La Liga season with a 4-1 victory over Getafe on Saturday.

Adriano capitalized on good work by Cesc Fabregas to notch a 32nd-minute opener before the visitors added three more goals in the final 16 minutes to seal their fourth win in four league outings.

Messi doubled the lead from the penalty spot before the Argentina ace made it 3-0 four minutes later. Getafe pulled a goal back through Pablo Sarabia's deflected strike but Villa had the final word with a brilliant piece of finishing in stoppage time to complete the scoring.

Getafe had beaten defending champions Real Madrid in its last home match but Barca rarely looked like suffering a similar fate Saturday.

Barcelona had already seen Cristian Tello denied by home goalkeeper Miguel Moya and Thiago strike the crossbar before taking the lead through Adriano.

Fabregas created the chance with an incisive run into the area and, when he was muscled off the ball, Adriano was on hand to slot home.

Barca continued to push and Moya did well to keep out efforts from Thiago and Tello before visiting coach Tito Vilanova decided to unleash reigning two-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner Messi just before the hour mark.

It took the Argentina ace just 15 minutes to make his mark as he fired home from the penalty spot after Pedro Rodriguez had been brought down by Juan Valera.

That was Messi's seventh competitive goal of the season for Barca, and it became eight soon after when he tapped in a deflected cross from close range.

Getafe got on the scoresheet 10 minutes from the end when substitute Sarabia's left-footed strike hit Javier Mascherano and flew past the wrong-footed Victor Valdes, but Barca restored its three-goal advantage late on through Villa's fine finish.

Fabregas' dinked ball over the top picked out his fellow Spain international's run in behind the Getafe defence and, in the blink of an eye, the striker brought the ball down, took a touch to hold off the challenge of Valera and then drilled a low left-footed finish past Moya.

That goal was Villa's third in four appearances for club and country since returning from his eight-month injury absence.

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