Barcelona make just one change for derby with Espanyol

Barcelona make just one change for derby with Espanyol

The Argentine fooled goalkeeper Diego Lopez for the first time during the 17th minute, bending in a strike from outside the box to give Barcelona a 1-0 lead.

The visitors were in complete control and could have been out of sight shortly afterwards as both Luis Suarez and Messi rattled the woodwork, but the Uruguayan did eventually add his name to the scoresheet on the stroke of the break to all but put the game to bed.

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.

Espanyol defender Oscar Duarte fouled the Barcelona playmaker 25 yards out in a central position. Messi's shot was struck just as perfectly at the first one, curling over the wall and into the top corner.

Sergio Garcia was next off the Espanyol bench in the 63rd minute, but Barcelona made it 4-0 in the 65th minute when Messi sent yet another stunning free kick into the top corner of the net.

In a rare moment of action in the Barcelona penalty area, Victor Sanchez's header dropped wide of the far post.

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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.

The second came in the 65th, with the ball a bit further back and from a slightly different angle.

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

Messi had also set up Dembele's goal in the 26th, sending a well-placed throughball to the French forward.

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

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