Messi’s brace helps Barca back to top of La Liga

Messi’s brace helps Barca back to top of La Liga
United Bank for Africa

Lionel Messi scored two superb individual goals as FC Barcelona produced an archetypal display to see off Celta Vigo and return to the top of La Liga on Saturday.

Outbound coach Luis Enrique watched his Barca run Celta ragged with great interplay in attack and high pressing.

Messi made it 1-0 when he ran 45 yards and slotted in, before Neymar scored with a superb dinked finish.

Barca increased their lead with strikes from Ivan Rakitic and Samuel Umtiti before another solo effort from Messi.

It was a performance which Barca are renowned for, but one that has been rarely seen this season.

If they produce a similar display against Paris St-Germain on Wednesday, then they have a great chance of overturning what seems an insurmountable 4-0 deficit.

Messi sent FC Barcelona on their way in the 24th minute.

The Argentine’s turn as he set off for goal was reminiscent of countryman Diego Maradona’s when he scored that dazzling solo goal against England at World Cup ’86.

However, Messi had fewer defenders to navigate past, with Gustavo Cabral and Sergi Gomez failing to dislodge the ball from the diminutive forward before he fired past Sergio Alvarez.

Neymar then produced the best finish of the night when he converted Messi’s through-ball with the deftest of touches.

Rakitic slotted in the third in the 57th minute when Rafinha’s heavy touch in the area fell into his path.

Thereafter, defender Umtiti grabbed his first goal in FC Barcelona colours with a poked finish from Messi’s square ball.

The FC Barcelona magician then capped of a great night for both himself and his team when he cut inside from the right and sold a dummy.

He then fired in through the legs of Facundo Roncaglia.

Enrique’s side lead by a point from Real Madrid, who defeated Eibar 4-1 earlier on Saturday.

Newsverge reports that Real also have a game in hand on their bitter rivals.

Karim Benzema scored twice as Real Madrid overcame the absence of injured Cristiano Ronaldo and suspended Gareth Bale to beat Eibar.

The striker scored from a rebound after Yoel had saved his initial effort and then turned home James Rodriguez’s free-kick to double Real’s lead.

Benzema set up the third with a cross which Rodriguez slid home over Yoel.

Marco Asensio scored a fourth after Rodriguez’s effort hit the post before a late Ruben Pena consolation.

Real briefly went top of the table, but FC Barcelona’s 5-0 win over Celta Vigo later on Saturday restored their one-point lead.