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FC Barcelona v RCD Espanyol (4-1):Messi and Suraez masterminds derby win

Barcelona secured another emphatic victory  at camp nou on Sunday evening, with a thumping 4-1 win over crosstown rivals Espanyol.



  •  Luis Suarez capped a fine team move to open the scoring with a low finish on 18 minutes at the Nou Camp
  • Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi combined superbly before Suarez scored after 67 minutes Jordi Alba added a third just a minute later to send Luis Enrique's men back second in La Liga Lionel Messi's delicate volleyed finish wrapped up the victory in style in stoppage time Lionel Messi lit up the Catalan derby with two sublime assists inside a minute as Barcelona beat Espanyol 4-1.

Having won just two of their last five games in all competitions, Barcelona welcomed  formidable city rivals Espanyol with impressive defensive record.

Taking on a ninth place Espanyol side  the Blaugranes looked to put their poor form beside them and put on a spectacular show as a Christmas gift to the fans who turned out in large number.

With Quique Sanchez Flores's  side having held Athletico Madrid to a goalless draw two weeks ago at the Vicente Calderon the Blaugranes faced a tough challenge, and passed it with ease.

Luis Enrique named Ter Stegen between the sticks behind a back four of Sergi Roberto , Javier Macherano , Gerald Pique and Jordi Alba  with Sergio Busquet , Denis Suraez and Andres Iniesta in midfield.

Leaving Arda Turan, Ivan Rakitic, Rafinha, Cillesen, Digne  Samuel Umtiti and Alcacer on the bench, the Austrian fielded  Luis Suraez, Lionel Messi and    Neymar Jr in his three-man
attacking line.

Started strongly as expected, Barcelona  nearly went ahead in just the seventh minute, with Suarez feeding  Neymar, The Brazilian hits a first-time cross to the back post for Messi, but the forward can only drill his effort into the side-netting.

And their early control was rewarded with just 18 minutes played when they opened the scoring courtesy of Luis Suraez eleventh goal in the League  this term, with Iniesta releasing  the forward over the top of the Espanyol defense with a sublime long pass. 
Suarez takes an excellent first touch to raid into the box and then slots his strike past Diego Lopez.
Visitors had their moment too, capitalsing on an injury to Busquets with Diop sending a nice pass outside on the flank to find Javi Lopez, but the defender can only strike his effort on the half-volley over the bar leaving the  Blaugranes to settle for a one-goal lead at the break.

Barcelona almost grabbed their second just before half-time, with Iniesta sending another brilliant pass over the top of the Espanyol defence and Suarez again latches on to the ball. However, on this occasion David Lopez gets back in time to make the intervention.

The Blaugranes continued to trouble the Espanyol defence, with Reyes on a full stretch  to head Iniesta's lofted ball away from danger as
Suarez lurked behind him waiting to pounce.

Despite their lead, Barcelona showed no sign of stopping after half-time,with Suarez notching his second of the game, but this goal is all about Messi as he weaves past four players on the edge of the box before firing at goal. His shot is fumbled by Roberto and the
Uruguayan slams the ball into the net Underlining their dominance in the game. Incredible
Jordi Alba then made it 3-0 shortly after some brilliant individual play by Leo Messi. 
The Argentine coasting past three defenders on this occasion before the ball lands at the feet of Alba, who drills his strike through Roberto's hands and into the bottom corner.

David Lopez turned a brilliant finish high into Marc- Andre ter Stegen's net from 18 yards after a flowing counter-attack involving Pablo Piatti and Gerard Moreno, but Messi scored the goal of the game in the dying minutes to bring Barca's league commitments for 2016 to a stylish close.

Looks like we are finally having fun again on the pitch. Slowly looking better and better. We'll get those trophies if we keep this mentality up. Messi also showing the world you don't have to win a popularity contest to be the best player in the world. Visca Barca!!
Apart from Messi and Iniesta producing those magical moments we saw some positional changes from Lucho. Messi was more in the RW in this game and the 4th goal reminded me of the classic counter-attacking goal vs Atletico in the season 2015.

Roberto was going more in front and it looked like Denis was told to be more conservative and cover for him. He was almost playing as a RB at times. I don't understand why Rakitic has been dropped out of the playing 11 even though I'm happy that Denis and Rafinha are getting more chances. But for me, Rakitic is still a better box to box CM.

FCB FAITHFUL MAN OF THE MATCH: Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo might just have been crowned the best player in the world but it’s Messi who continues to play like someone from another planet.

He somehow wriggled clear of four Espanyol defenders to set up Luis Suarez for his and Barca’s second goal. And just to show it wasn’t a fluke he did it again a minute later to this time assist Jordi Alba.Lionel Messi's delicate volleyed finish wrapped up the victory in style in stoppage time

Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; D Suarez (Rafinha 65),
Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Suarez, Neymar

Subs not used: Rakitic, Turan, Cillessen, Alcacer, Digne, Umtiti

Scorers: Suarez 18, 67, Alba 68, Messi 90+1

Espanyol (4-4-2): Lopez (Roberto 52); Rios, Lopez, Reyes, Caricol; Piatti, Fuego, Diop, Jurado; Caicedo (Jimenez 70), Gerard

Subs not used: Duarte, O Duarte, Reyes, Vasquez, Roca
Scorer: Lopez 79

Booked: Caricol; Piatti, Caicedo

The three points move Barca back into second place and move them closer to Real Madrid who now have a game in hand after winning the FIFA Club World Cup on Sunday. what a perfect way to end the year.

FC Barcelona upped their game in the second half to claim a memorable win, and the manager was quick to highlight his players’ output, saying that the team played “at a very high level”. “Espanyol set out their game as we expected, very compact at the back, something that always makes attacking more difficult.” “In the first half, we tired them out and, in the second, our best players showed up to unbalance the match.”

Speaking of the opening goal which came via a more direct approach, Luis Enrique said “we more often play against teams who sit back in their own half. When they try to attack us, we look to take advantage of the spaces in behind with long passes. We have the ideal players to do it”. Messi is something unique “We cannot get accustomed to what Leo Messi
does. It is something unique and, here at the Camp Nou, it happens every 15 days.”

The manager also confirmed that Messi, along with Luis Suárez, Neymar Jr and Piqué, will begin their Christmas vacations early as they will not be featuring against Hércules.


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