Barcelona’s Argentinian ahead Lionel Messi (R) celebrates with Barcelona’s Dutch midfielder Frenkie De Jong after scoring a second aim through the Spanish league soccer match between FC Barcelona and Elche CF on the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on February 24, 2021. (Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP)
Lionel Messi soared previous Luis Suarez to turn out to be La Liga’s high scorer on Wednesday by including his seventeenth and 18th objectives of the season in a much-needed 3-0 victory for Barcelona over Elche.
Barca had adopted up final week’s crushing Champions League loss to Paris Saint-Germain by drawing at dwelling to Cadiz on Sunday however eased the pressure with a snug win on the Camp Nou.
Messi’s double owed a lot to a pair of excellent assists, with a supreme dribble by Frenkie de Jong coming after a chic flick from Martin Braithwaite, who additionally arrange Jordi Alba to attain a 3rd.
After failing to take full benefit of league leaders Atletico Madrid’s defeat by Levante on Saturday, this victory places Barcelona again in third, 5 factors off the highest, having performed a recreation greater than Atletico.
Just as importantly, it places Ronald Koeman’s facet again on observe after two disappointing outcomes threatened to extinguish momentum gained in current weeks.
Barcelona’s Argentinian ahead Lionel Messi (C) scores a second aim through the Spanish league soccer match between FC Barcelona and Elche CF on the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on February 24, 2021. (Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP)
Even if Atletico show too far forward to catch, a constructive efficiency was necessary, particularly with a semi-final second leg to come back subsequent week towards Sevilla within the Copa del Rey, which can be their solely probability of profitable a trophy this time period.
Messi’s return to high kind comes as an enormous increase too. The 33-year-old got here off unfavourably in comparisons made with Kylian Mbappe final week however these sorts of performances present he’s removed from completed but.
This was Messi’s fifth and sixth aim in his final 4 video games whereas no participant from the highest 5 European leagues has scored greater than his 13 this 12 months in all competitions. Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski is closest on 12.
Francisco Trincao and Frenkie de Jong had early probabilities for Barcelona whereas Elche ought to have scored however Lucas Boye blazed over.
Yet a frantic opening gave option to a disjointed first half and Koeman reacted by bringing off the ineffective Miralem Pjanic at half-time and changing him with Ousmane Dembele.
Barcelona’s Argentinian ahead Lionel Messi (C) celebrates after scoring a aim through the Spanish league soccer match between FC Barcelona and Elche CF on the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on February 24, 2021. (Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP)
Barcelona scored inside two minutes of the restart, Messi driving from midfield in direction of the world and rebounding off Braithwaite, whose sweeping flick behind his standing leg gave the scuttling Argentinian a easy end.
Elche’s early risk had dissipated and Barca added two extra in 5 minutes.
The first got here from a wide ranging run from De Jong, who dribbled ahead from the midway line, previous three Elche defenders, earlier than slicing again for Messi. He glided previous two extra and prodded in.
Messi began the transfer for the third, with a well-known, curving cross to Braithwaite on the again publish, whose cushioned header throughout discovered Alba unmarked within the center.