Messi's free-kick magic keeps Barca top

09 December, 2018, 15:02 | Author: Amy Huff
  • Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Carles Alena celebrates with teammates after scoring during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona against Villarreal CF at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona

"It's incredible how he hits those two freekicks, opening up and curling it in".

Messi, who finished fifth in this year's Ballon d'Or vote, opened the scoring with a fine free-kick before picking out Ousmane Dembele to double the lead after 26 minutes.

Dembele turned provider this time, slipping his fellow forward in in the left-hand channel, with Suarez doing brilliantly to hold off the challenge of a defender and somehow squeeze a finish through the legs of Lopez and into the far corner from the narrowest of angles.

Espanyol improved after the interval and had a goal disallowed for offside when Oscar Duarte stabbed home Sergio Garcia's cross from close range, but a comeback was never a serious possibility for the hosts.

Barca's front three were all in fine form but Messi was the conductor at the heart of all their play.

After a slow start to the second half, Barca were pinned back early on with a few half-chances.

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Barcelona fullback Jordi Alba hailed two-goal Leo Messi after their win over Espanyol.

Most sides would have crumbled in the face of Barca's stunning show, but Espanyol should have offered more fight in a derby meeting.

The result has seen Barcelona move three points clear at the top of La Liga, while Espanyol, who have lost their last four league fixtures, remain down in ninth.

- Barcelona have scored the most goals from set-pieces in La Liga this season (11).

Lionel Messi scored twice from free kicks in a league match for the first time in his career on Saturday, leading Barcelona to a 4-0 rout of Espanyol in the Spanish league.

The five-time Ballon d'Or victor has scored more direct free-kicks than any club in Europe's top five leagues in the last four years, but it's this vision and precision that stands out most for me.

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