MADRID (AP) ― Lionel Messi’s clutch scoring was overshadowed by the loud complaining from the other side.
Messi lit up an ill-tempered Champions League semifinal on Wednesday with two goals in the last 15 minutes to give Barcelona a 2-0 victory against short-handed Real Madrid.
Messi sent substitute Ibrahim Afellay’s cross through the legs of goalkeeper Iker Casillas to open the scoring in the 76th minute. With three minutes to play, the elusive Argentina forward brilliantly moved past three defenders before slipping the ball past Casillas for his 52nd goal of the season, and 11th in the Champions League.
“A team that has nine European Cups never gives up on a series, I’m convinced of that,” Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said. “We played a very good game. We controlled their counterattacks, their aerial game, which is very dangerous.”
The match turned on the ejection of Madrid’s Pepe in the 61st minute. That enraged Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, who was sent to the stands for protesting the decision, leaving Madrid playing with 10 against Barcelona for the fourth straight game.
Pepe was sent off after colliding with Daniel Alves as he lunged for a ball and Mourinho was sent to the stands for sarcastically clapping and showing a thumbs up to the fourth official.
Mourinho has seen his team finish with 10 players in his last five matches against Barcelona, counting Inter Milan’s 1-0 defeat at Barcelona in the semifinals last year.
Inter still advanced, then won the championship against Bayern Munich.
Clint Dempsey broke Fulham’s Premier League goalscoring record by netting twice in a 3-0 victory over Bolton on Wednesday.
The American midfielder hooked a half-cleared corner into the net after 15 minutes and tapped in Eidur Gudjohnsen’s flick-on three minutes into the second half to take his tally since joining Fulham in 2007 to 33 goals.
Dempsey surpasses fellow American Brian McBride and French midfielder Steed Malbranque, who both scored 32 league goals before leaving Fulham.