Messi inspires Barca to victory

Lionel Messi played a starring role for Barcelona as they cruised to a 4-0 win over European hopefuls Eibar at Ipurua on Sunday.

The Argentine ace provided the opener for Munir El Haddadi early on before netting either side of half-time to put the La Liga leaders firmly in the driving seat, with Luis Suarez wrapping things up at the death.

It was an 11th straight win in the league for the Catalan giants, who extended their unbeaten run to 21 games, while the eighth-placed Armeros suffered their fourth defeat on the spin.

The visitors took just eight minutes to break the deadlock, with Messi picking out Suarez inside the area with an exquisite chipped pass and the Uruguayan striker teed up El Haddadi to slot home at the far post.

The Basque outfit almost found a way back into the contest just before the break when Sergio Busquets attempted to cut out a pass from Eibar striker Borja Baston, which skewed off the midfielder and went the wrong side of the post.

However, Barca then doubled their lead moments later as El Haddadi this time turned provider, playing Messi in on goal and the forward picked out the far corner of the net with a low strike.

Messi was denied his brace from a free-kick in the second half, which was expertly saved by Asier Riesgo, but he would beat the goalkeeper again on 76 minutes from the penalty spot after Ivan Ramis was blown up for handball inside the area.

There was still time for Suarez to get his name on the scoresheet in a move started by Claudio Bravo’s throw across half the pitch which found Sergi Roberto, who laid the ball off for the striker on the right and he nutmegged one defender and past another before firing home into the far bottom corner of the net.