Espanyol 0 Barcelona 4: Magical Messi dazzles in derby demolition

Lionel Messi scored two free-kicks and set up another goal as Barcelona romped past local rivals Espanyol 4-0

Lionel Messi and Ivan Rakitic were among the other Barcelona players who were put through their paces. Messi's shot was struck just as perfectly at the first one, curling over the wall and into the top corner.

Sevilla remain second after a draw away to Valencia, but they will be frustrated at only taking a point from their visit to the Mestalla Stadium.

Messi opened the scoring with a magnificent free kick in the 16th minute and them turned the home defense inside out to help tee up Ousmane Dembele, who was preferred to former Espanyol forward, Phillipe Coutinho in the Barca starting 11.

Suarez and Messi hit the post in quick succession as Espanyol completely failed to cope with Barca's attacking movement and sublime passing, a third goal arriving before the break.

Victor Sanchez headed over the Barcelona crossbar 10 minutes from time as Espanyol continued to search for a goal, and it nearly arrived when Baptistao struck towards the far corner, but the ball just deflected wide.

It was 2-0 on 26 minutes when Messi picked out Dembele in the Espanyol penalty area and the France worldwide cut back inside to curl the ball past Lopez.

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Leo Baptistao was introduced in the 60th minute as Espanyol looked for a route back into the match, but Barcelona continued to resist the pressure, with Ter Stegen not having too much to do.

Luis Suarez - back in the team following a knee problem - had the opportunity to send Barcelona two goals ahead four minutes later when he met a clever pass from Messi, but Diego Lopez was on hand to make the save.

Espanyol went looking for a lifeline at the start of the second half, but Barcelona remained risky on the break.

Messi was in fine form against derby rivals Espanyol.

However, following a lengthy review from the Video Assistant Referee, the goal was ruled out for a marginal offside.

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