Messi fired in two sensational long-range efforts and would have had a hat-trick at Camp Nou had a doubtful VAR resolution within the first half not dominated Antoine Griezmann offside.
He did tee up a second of the evening for the 21-year-old Francisco Trincao and was instrumental in Junior Firpo including a fifth too, a flamboyant scoop liberating Griezmann to ship a go to Firpo on the again submit.
La Masia all the best way. https://t.co/91ouiiiWu7
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) 1613255933000
Victory means Barca path Atletico Madrid by eight factors once more after Atletico had quickly pulled 11 clear due to a hard-fought 2-1 win over Granada earlier on Saturday.
Barcelona and Actual Madrid have each performed a sport greater than Atleti, with Zinedine Zidane’s aspect going through Valencia at dwelling on Sunday.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) 1613256675000
Atletico’s win was a major psychological enhance on the again of slipping up for the primary time in 9 video games at dwelling to Celta Vigo earlier this week.
Their benefit could show too massive to shut however Barcelona’s tie in opposition to PSG within the Champions League, which seemed to have the French aspect as agency favourites when the draw was made in December, now feels more durable to name.
Mauricio Pochettino’s aspect will in all probability be favourites forward of the primary leg at Camp Nou on Tuesday however Barca have actually discovered kind in current weeks, and Messi seems near his deadly greatest.
Mr. Saturday Night time https://t.co/H8X8uT3mNe
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) 1613253928000
The query is whether or not a free-flowing assault, stuffed with expertise and orchestrated by Messi, can damage PSG sufficient to make up for what stays a shaky defence, depleted by accidents and susceptible to the counter-attack.
With Gerard Pique and the rising Ronald Araujo each out injured, Frenkie de Jong crammed in once more in central defence, though the Dutchman has arguably been Barcelona’s most improved participant this yr within the midfield three.
As a substitute there was a begin for Ilaix Kourouma in midfield, the 18-year-old academy product who assisted Trincao’s opening objective however whose misplaced go led to Luis Rioja briefly giving Alaves hope.
💥💥💥💥 #MESSI! #MESSI! #MESSI! #MESSI! #MESSI! #MESSI! #MESSI! #MESSI! #MESSI! #MESSI! #MESSI! #MESSI! #MESSI! #MESSI… https://t.co/QExgG4uBQN
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) 1613252104000
After Trincao had swept dwelling, Messi thought he had made it two, pouncing on a rebound after Griezmann missed however the objective was dominated out, regardless that replays urged Griezmann was onside.
Messi made amends quickly after, latching onto a Sergio Busquets go, darting in-field and ripping a shot in off the submit.
Rioja capitalised on Ilaix’s mistake simply earlier than the hour however Barca pulled away with three targets in six minutes.
Pedri’s go freed Messi however he didn’t spherical Fernando Pacheco and as an alternative the ball spilled out for Trincao to attain his second.
Messi slammed a stinging strike into the highest nook from 25 yards to make it 4-1 earlier than maybe the objective of the evening got here final, Messi scooping over for Griezmann, who volleyed to the again submit the place Firpo couldn’t miss.
Atletico had earlier swerved a second consecutive slip by squeezing previous Granada at Los Carmenes, a victory secured by Angel Correa’s fortuitous winner within the second half.
There was a touch of luck in Granada’s equaliser too, Yangel Herrera’s shot deflecting off Marcos Llorente, who had himself put Atletico in entrance solely three minutes earlier.
“An important factor at this time was the combat and the power of the staff,” stated Simeone afterwards.
On the full-time whistle, he shook his fists and sprinted down the tunnel, his aid evident on the finish of a sport that might simply have seen extra factors dropped for his aspect.
Luis Suarez had scored in six of the earlier seven video games however for as soon as the 34-year-old was not the matchwinner, with Llorente and Correa — two unsung heroes this season — as an alternative proving the distinction.
Llorente’s objective was his seventh of the season whereas his lay-off for Correa was his sixth help.
“As coaches trophies are great as a result of they fill you with pleasure and glory,” Simeone stated of Llorente. “However while you work with a footballer and see them develop, you’re feeling much more pleasure and extra enthusiasm to maintain doing what you are doing.”