Lionel Messi scores twice to increase Barcelona’s lead atop La Liga


For 70 minutes on Saturday, it regarded like Espanyol would possibly simply escape the Nou Camp with a degree in opposition to metropolis rival Barcelona within the Derbi barceloní.

Then Lionel Messi did what the planet’s biggest participant does, scoring twice earlier than the ultimate whistle to earn a 2-0 win and lengthen Barca’s lead atop La Liga to an all-but-insurmountable 13 factors over Atletico Madrid.

The hosts dominated the match from the outset, badly out-possessing and out-chancing overmatched Espanyol, which stays 14th place in Spain’s high flight. However the guests defended stoutly, and Barca couldn’t discover the breakthrough from open play.

Luckily for them, Messi broke the impasse by coolly chipping a “Panenka” free kick over the wall and keeper Diego Lopez from simply outdoors the 18-yard field:

The strike gave Ernesto Valverde’s facet some much-needed respiration room. And Messi, who earlier this week was credited with scoring the three biggest targets in Barcelona’s illustrious historical past, would kill the sport off along with his second tally of the match within the remaining minute of normal time.

House keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen began the sequence with a fast outlet move. Twelve seconds later, the ball was in Lopez’s internet, with Messi arriving within the space to complete Malcom’s centering feed first-time:

The targets have been Messi’s twenty eighth and twenty ninth in 26 La Liga video games this season. The 31-year-old Argentine has now transformed 11 extra occasions than Barcelona teammate Luiz Suarez, who’s second on the circuit’s scoring chart.

Barca will host Atleti subsequent weekend within the groups’ remaining assembly of the 2018-19 season. A win by the Catalans would all however finish the title race then and there. The 2 groups performed to a 1-1 attract Madrid final November.

Doug McIntyre covers soccer for Yahoo Sports activities. Observe him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

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