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Messi scores twice to start campaign in Spain

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 24, 2014 at 5:49 pm •  Published: August 24, 2014

LONDON (AP) — Lionel Messi and Barcelona are already up and running at full speed in the Spanish league. Louis Van Gaal's Manchester United is still stumbling out of the blocks in the Premier League.

Messi scored two goals in a comfortable win over Elche, and United is still looking for its first victory of the season after being held to a draw by Sunderland.

Here is a look at the action from Europe's top leagues on Sunday:



Messi helped 10-man Barcelona start the Spanish league with a 3-0 win over Elche in the debut of coach Luis Enrique, with the Argentina star looking eager to put last season's disappointments behind him.

Messi used a burst of speed to dribble free of a pack of opponents before slotting in Barcelona's first goal in the 41st. Barcelona then lost Javier Mascherano to a direct red card when he fouled Elche's Garry Rodrigues with only goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to beat.

But 18-year-old Munir El Haddadi, starting for the injured Neymar, scored seconds after halftime before Messi got his second goal in the 63rd after again sidestepping a group of defenders.

Elsewhere, promoted Eibar beat Real Sociedad 1-0 for a winning debut in the first division, and Celta Vigo beat Getafe 3-1.



The World Cup memories are fading fast for Louis van Gaal as the size of the rebuilding job at Manchester United hits home.

A week after losing its season opener, United was held to a 1-1 draw at Sunderland, leaving the former Netherlands coach still searching for his first win in the Premier League. Juan Mata gave United the lead in northeast England, but former Manchester City midfielder Jack Rodwell had a tying header for Sunderland.

Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino's reign at Tottenham has begun with consecutive league wins after his team overwhelmed Queens Park Rangers with a stylish 4-0 rout.

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