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Messi dazzles with two brilliant free kicks as Barcelona demolish Espanyol in Catalan derby

The Argentine scored a double and set up another during a one-sided win for Barcelona.

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi
Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi

LIONEL MESSI PRODUCED an incredible individual performance as LaLiga leaders Barcelona demolished Espanyol 4-0 in Saturday’s Catalan derby.

Messi placed fifth in this week’s Ballon d’Or voting, the first time he has been outside the top three since 2006, but offered a timely reminder of his enduring brilliance at RCDE Stadium.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was inspirational for Barca, opening the scoring with an unstoppable free-kick, then setting up Ousmane Dembele for a superb curling finish.

Dembele sent Luis Suarez clear for Barca’s third before half-time with Messi adding his ninth free-kick goal in LaLiga in 2018 after the break to wrap up a completely dominant derby victory.

Barca led in the 17th minute thanks to the first moment of Messi magic in an astounding display.

The Barca captain, playing in this fixture for a joint-record 32nd time, beat Diego Lopez with a perfect free-kick from 25 yards that curled away from the goalkeeper’s despairing dive.

Messi was leading Espanyol a merry dance and he set up Barca’s second in the 26th minute, twisting and turning defenders on the edge of the box before slicing the back four open with a fine pass for Dembele, who cut inside and fired across Lopez into the top-right corner.

Suarez and Messi hit the post in quick succession as Espanyol completely failed to cope with Barca’s attacking movement and sublime passing, a third goal arriving before the break.

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Dembele was the creator this time with a superb pass to Suarez, who slipped his finish through the legs of Lopez from a tight angle.

To their credit Espanyol started the second half on top but they could do little to stop Messi, who beat Lopez again with another unbelievable free-kick in the 65th minute, this time from 30 yards.

Oscar Duarte saw a consolation goal ruled out for offside by VAR when he volleyed in Sergio Garcia’s free-kick, with Espanyol at least able to restrict the damage to a four-goal defeat.

Murray Kinsella, Gavan Casey and Andy Dunne preview a big weekend of Heineken Cup action and dissect the week’s main talking points.


Source: Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42/SoundCloud

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