Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Messi Makes LaLiga History With Brace Against Espanyol

Francesc Rubi Francesc Rubi EFE
Andrew Wong | 09 December, 2018, 01:51

Recent Barcelona derbies in Cornella have been feisty affairs, but Barca, with Messi at his very best, never gave them a chance.

Barca led in the 17th minute thanks to the first moment of Messi magic in an astounding display.

Goalkeeper Diego Lopez saved from Suarez, given the all-clear to play following a knee problem, as Barcelona looked to swiftly double their lead.

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

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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.

Sevilla were on track to go top earlier in the day, but Valencia scored a 92nd-minute equaliser, although Atletico Madrid exerted some pressure by thumping Deportivo Alaves 3-0.

Duarte thought he had netted a consolation for his side as he prodded home Sergio Garcia's free-kick at the far post, only for the goal to be disallowed after a lengthy VAR review.

Messi was in fine form against derby rivals Espanyol.

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The Argentina star finished fifth in this week's Ballon d'Or voting behind Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Cristiano Ronaldo and victor Luka Modric.

Puyol has taken to Twitter after Barça's 4-0 thrashing of Espanyol to tweet about the Ballon d'Or, which Messi finished in fifth place for in this year's award.

Key Opta stats:- Ousmane Dembele has been directly involved in eight goals in his last eight games for Barcelona in all competitions (three goals and five assists).

- Espanyol have lost four consecutive La Liga games for the first time since May 2012.

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