Eibar had no answer to the brilliance of Lionel Messi as he scored four times in Barcelona’s 6-1 win at the Camp Nou on Tuesday.
Barcelona 6 Eibar 1
- Messi opens scoring from the spot
- Paulinho doubles Barca’s lead
- Suarez on target, Enrich replies
- Messi bags second-half hat-trick
The Argentine magician got proceedings underway with a 20th-minute penalty before Paulinho’s header put Barca two goals up at the break. Denis Suarez quickly extended their lead after the restart before Sergi Enrich pulled one back for the visitors moments later.
But Messi turned on the style as he bagged another three goals during the course of the second half to seal a comprehensive victory.
Ernesto Valverde’s side got off to a laboured start in front of their home fans, and Los Armeros almost caught them napping in the fourth minute with a through-ball from Junca that released Sergi Enrich, whose shot from inside the area was smartly saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The visitors threatened again on 10 minutes when Takashi Inui was picked out in space on the left by a fine cross-field pass from Paulo Oliveira, but the Japanese midfielder was denied by Ter Stegen at his near post from a tight angle.
The hosts had struggled to get into their stride, but they were handed a golden opportunity to take the lead when Nelson Semedo went down under a challenge from Alejandro Galvez inside the area to earn his team a penalty, which was coolly converted by Messi.
The Basque outfit looked to respond and they won a free-kick in a promising position on the left in the 25th minute, but Oliveira couldn’t generate enough power on his header to trouble Ter Stegen.
Marko Dmitrovic was then called into action soon after at the other end as the Blaugrana broke forward, with the keeper clutching onto Messi’s 20-yard curler, before Enrich directed a header wide at the near post from Gonzalo Escalante’s cross on the right in the 30th minute.
Dmitrovic did well to keep out Messi at his right post on 37 minutes after the forward advanced into the area from the right, but there was nothing the Serbian keeper could do to prevent Paulinho from doubling Barca’s lead moments as the Brazilian powered home a header from Suarez’s corner.
Messi looked in the mood and he was denied a second goal on 53 minutes by another good save from Dmitrovic, but Suarez reacted quickest at the back post to fire in on the rebound.
Enrich would not be denied, however, and he reduced the deficit four minutes later as he nipped in behind the defence to tuck home Janca’s exquisite cross from the left.
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This only seemed to egg Messi on as he restored the Catalans’ three-goal cushion with a clinical finish from the edge of the box in the 59th minute.
Ter Stegen had to be alert soon afterwards to deny Inui from an angle on the left, with the German keeper sticking out a glove to keep the ball out, and Messi capped off a sweeping counter as he latched onto Paulinho’s through-ball and held off three defenders before slotting past Dmitrovic.
Lucas Digne forced Dmitrovic into another sharp save after being played in on the left by Gerard Pique in the 71st minute, while Ruben Pena was unfortunate to see his angled drive strike the left post and rebound back across the face of goal four minutes from time.
Messi would have the final say, however, as he surged into the box from the right channel and swapped passes with Alexi Vidal before guiding the ball into the far corner of the net from six yards out in the 87th minute.