Lionel Messi scored three and made two as Barcelona crushed Levante 5-Zero on Sunday to restore their three-point lead on the prime of La Liga.
Barca suffered their solely defeat within the league final season at Levante, shedding 5-Four in Valencia in Could, however by no means seemed like shedding right here once more as soon as Luis Suarez gave them the lead within the first half.
Messi, whose run and cross had set Suarez up, then scored Barca’s subsequent three objectives earlier than organising defender Gerard Pique to full the rout late on after Erick Cabaco was despatched off for the house aspect.
Objectives win video games, and in Messi and Suarez, Barca have two of the league’s prime scorers. They now have 25 within the league between them — greater than Real Madrid (24) and Atletico (24) — and in the event that they maintain on scoring like this, it is onerous to think about the title not winding up at Camp Nou once more.
As soon as Barca obtained their noses in entrance they motored by the gears, however issues might need been completely different if Levante had struck first. The house aspect twice went shut by Emmanuel Boateng. In truth, seconds earlier than Suarez’s opener, he had hit the bar.
There was additionally a setback earlier than the match, when Nelson Semedo dropped out of the squad with a knee damage. With no cowl for Jordi Alba at left-back and Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti additionally injured, Barca will hope the right-back’s not out for lengthy.
Supervisor ranking out of 10
7 — Ernesto Valverde deserves credit score for reshuffling his pack after the late lack of Semedo. Taking part in a again three, at a stadium which holds unhealthy latest recollections, was a danger, but it surely got here off.
Participant rankings (1-10; 10 = finest. Gamers launched after 70 minutes get no ranking)
GK Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 7 — Made one save from Boateng within the second half which you’d count on him to make, however the two he made after the break, from Borja Mayoral and Sanjin Prcic, have been good.
DF Gerard Pique, 9 — Even earlier than scoring the fifth purpose late on, he’d produced one other colossal show on the again, first as the proper centre-back and later in the course of the again three. One block to deny a sure purpose at Three-Zero stands out.
DF Clement Lenglet, 7 — Umtiti’s damage has made him a key a part of this Barca aspect. He is grown as the video games have handed, and this was one other assured efficiency.
DF Thomas Vermaelen, 6 — A late inclusion due to the absence of Semedo, lasting simply over 50 minutes earlier than being taken off with what seemed like a knock.
MF Ousmane Dembele, 7 — Did not dazzle in assault, however that was primarily as a result of he was requested to play as a proper wing-back. Labored ever so onerous. This was an actual present of confidence from Valverde to ask him to carry out a task with so many defensive tasks. An excellent run drew Cabaco’s useless crimson card.
MF Sergio Busquets, 7 — A beautiful interception and completely weighted go arrange Messi’s first purpose. After a troublesome begin, discovered his ft within the sport and at all times seemed assured.
MF Ivan Rakitic, 7 — Gained the ball again on the sting of the Levante field within the buildup to the opening purpose earlier than ending the sport as an emergency centre-back — for over half an hour!
MF Arturo Vidal, 7 — Presently maintaining his place within the aspect regardless of competitors from Arthur and Philippe Coutinho. Unselfishly arrange the fourth purpose for Messi after good play from Suarez.
MF Jordi Alba, 7 — Given the left flank to himself and loved the liberty. Assisted Messi’s second purpose.
FW Lionel Messi, 10 — One other grasp class. Scored three, arrange two, would have arrange 4 if Luis Suarez and Denis Suarez took their probabilities. That is 14 objectives and 10 assists in La Liga this season.
FW Luis Suarez, eight — Opened the scoring with a stunning first-time end from Messi’s cross and was devastating within the buildup to Barca’s fourth purpose — nutmeg included. That stated, he additionally wasted two golden probabilities to add to his tally.
MF Arthur, 6 — Got here on for Vermaelen for the ultimate half-hour, making his first league look since November following damage.
MF Philippe Coutinho, N/R — Unable to get a begin within the league in the intervening time, he had to make do with 15 minutes in opposition to Levante.
MF Denis Suarez, N/R — From one look all season to 4 in a row. Would really like extra than simply 10 minutes right here and there, thoughts.