Messi celebrates after scoring. AFP PHOTO/ ANDER GILLENEA
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Lionel Messi scored once and played his part in four more goals as Barcelona closed to within a point of La Liga leaders Real Madrid with a commanding performance to beat Athletic Bilbao 5-2 Sunday.Mikel Rico briefly gave Athletic hope after halftime, but Messi's goalbound header was then turned into his own net by Oscar de Marcos before Neymar rolled home Barca's fourth from another Messi pass.Bravo was called into action again to parry Markel Susaeta's well-struck free-kick, but Barca tore through the Athletic defense again on 26 minutes as Messi laid the ball into Suarez's path for the Uruguayan to thump home his first goal in five games.Barca responded in supreme fashion as De Marcos could only turn Messi's header into his own net before the Argentine teed up Neymar to slot home his 23rd goal of the season.
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