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Messi’s dead-ball brilliance sends Barcelona three points clear at top

09 December, 2018, 04:47 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
  • Antoine Griezmann

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

But, after 17 minutes, another moment of brilliance from Messi broke the deadlock.

It was 2-0 on 26 minutes when Messi picked out Dembele in the Espanyol penalty area and the France worldwide cut back inside to curl the ball past Lopez.

Espanyol improved after the interval and had a goal disallowed for offside when Oscar Duarte stabbed home Sergio Garcia's cross from close range, but a comeback was never a serious possibility for the hosts.

What does it mean? Yet Barca's efforts to defend the title will take some stopping if they maintain this level of performance, having moved three points clear of the chasing pack.

In a week that saw him criticised by Pele and finish fifth in the Ballon d'Or voting, the forward ended it by scoring twice in the Blaugrana's 4-0 win.

'He is a genuis when it comes to free kicks, ' the commentator yelled when Messi netted his first goal from 30-ish yards away from the goal post.

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Most sides would have crumbled in the face of Barca's stunning show, but Espanyol should have offered more fight in a derby meeting.

The win cements Barcelona's place at the La Liga summit, while Espanyol drop to ninth after slipping to a fourth consecutive league defeat.

Key Opta stats:- Ousmane Dembele has been directly involved in eight goals in his last eight games for Barcelona in all competitions (three goals and five assists).

He was in a media briefing and was asked about his opinion on Messi being the greatest of all time, he said that Messi only has one skill.

Lionel Messi wrote a fresh chapter in the LaLiga history books as the Barcelona captain set another record in his side's Catalan derby clash away to Espanyol.

Espanyol have now lost four league games in a row, their strong start to the season fading badly.

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