Barcelona followed up their clásico triumph with a devastating 7-1 win to relegate Osasuna on Wednesday and while the Camp Nou paid tribute to Lionel Messi as the Argentine forward went from 500 to 502 goals, Javier Mascherano stole the show with his first goal for the club.
Mascherano scored the sixth goal from the penalty spot after Denis Suárez had been chopped down, ending a run of seven years and 318 games without a goal since joining Barcelona.
The shift from defensive midfield to central defence at the Catalan giants has seen chances in front of goal decrease and while Mascherano has scored five times for Argentina, his last club goal was for Liverpool in the UEFA Cup in 2010.
500 – Javier Mascherano has scored the 500th goal for Barcelona under Luis Enrique in all competitions. Milestone. pic.twitter.com/firbgDjc46
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 26, 2017
“At first I tried to get out of it but under pressure from my team-mates and the crowd I decided to take it on,” Mascherano said.
“It would have been a fun moment to remember in years to come had I missed it. I wasn’t sure about it at all but it was difficult to say no to my team-mates.”
Lionel Messi had given Barcelona the lead after only 12 minutes after pouncing on a defensive error before Andre Gomes doubled the advantage and although Roberto Torres reduced the deficit, Luis Enrique’s side ran riot after the break.
Gomez added his second before Messi scored the pick of the bunch with a trademark run and curled finish into the corner minutes later.
Paco Alcacer scored the fifth, Mascherano blasted in number six from the spot and Alcacer wrapped up the rout.
Barça are level on points with Real Madrid, after their victory over Deportivo la Coruña later on Wednesday but Los Blancos remain with a game in hand as the title race enters the final stretch.