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Dec 12, 2012

Messi's scoring spree keeps Barca rolling

Lionel Messi scored his 87th and 88th goals of the year Wednesday to give Barcelona a 2-0 win at Cordoba in the first leg of the round of 16 in the Copa del Rey.

Having broken German great Gerd Mueller's 40-year-old record for most goals in a year on Sunday, Messi added to his tally in the 11th minute by tapping into an empty net from David Villa's pass.

Messi received a cross from Alexis Sanchez to score his seventh straight double and 21st overall of 2012 in the 74th.

"Messi is extraordinary," Barcelona defender Dani Alves said. "In every age there is always a player that stands out, and right now he is the reference point, just like Pele and Maradona were in their time."

Celta Vigo, meanwhile, upset visiting Real Madrid 2-1. The hosts built a 2-0 lead on goals by Mario Bermejo in the 56th and Cristian Bustos in the 78th before Cristiano Ronaldo latched onto an overhead pass from Xabi Alonso to score a potentially important away goal for Real in the 86th.

"They were the best team on the field," Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said, "but I still think Madrid is the favorite to win in the second leg at the Bernabeu."

Madrid forward Karim Benzema limped off in the 31st minute with an ankle injury.

Madrid's second leg is Jan. 9, with Barcelona's the following day.

Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid beat Getafe 3-0 despite resting forward Radamel Falcao, and Sevilla won 5-0 at Mallorca.

In the second leg of the last 32, Eibar advanced on the away goal rule after drawing 1-1 with Athletic Bilbao for the same overall score.

After having reached the Europa League and Copa del Rey finals last season, Athletic has had a disappointing season so far to be 14th in the league standings.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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