Barcelona put on a dominant display to destroy Catalan neighbours Girona 6-1 at Camp Nou. An outstanding display by Messi saw the Argentine come away with two goals, while Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick, and Philippe Coutinho scored his first La Liga goal.
The starting whistle was still ringing in fans’ ears when Portu shocked the home crowd with a goal for Girona. Sergio Busquets made an unnecessary back-heel which resulted in Girona’s Anthony Lozano making a run and trying to get on the end of the ball. Samuel Umtiti should have been able to clear, but Portu swept in and shot around the oncoming Marc-Andre ter Stegen to score a magnificent shot that tipped off both posts before crossing the line.
Fortunately for Barcelona, Luis Suarez equalized within minutes and the game was level again. Within five minutes the match was 1-1 and the atmosphere in Camp Nou was electric.
Lionel Messi then gave Barcelona the lead, after a long ball from Luis Suarez gave Messi possession in the box. The Argentine held on to the ball for what looked to be a fraction too long, and Girona managed to get bodies back in the box. But, Messi worked his magic dancing around several defenders to get into a better position and then hammered home the goal.
Later on, Messi got his double to make the match 3-1 from a free-kick just outside the penalty box. His choice to fire the shot directly under the jumping Girona wall paid off, as the ball went under everyone’s legs and into the left-hand bottom corner of Bounou’s goal.
Then, it was Suarez’s turn to score again and a striding run from Messi into the Girona half set-up the play. Messi passed to Philippe Coutinho on the left who dished to Luis Suarez to put it away for 4-1.
Barcelona kept pressing and it seemed that all the Barça players wanted to get a piece of the action. Coutinho finally got on the scoresheet with a lovely curling shot that went in off the right post. Finally, Suarez got the hat-trick to cap off the evening of goals after tapping in a cross from Ousmane Dembele.
A record-breaking assist for Lionel Messi 🎁 pic.twitter.com/mhKcgJsqRb
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 24, 2018
Barcelona has now set a club record of 32 La Liga games unbeaten. Meanwhile, Messi has now broken the record for the number of La Liga assists.
Unfortunately for Barcelona, it was not all positive and Gerard Pique appears to have injured further his already lingering knee injury. His presence for the La Liga games later this week will now be put in doubt.
After the match, Girona coach Pablo Machin said,
“We are not the first team to leave Camp Nou with a thrashing. But, many of those teams do not create chances and we had several.”
Meanwhile, Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said,
“Leo [Messi] makes things appear easy, but they aren’t easy.
“It’s hard to judge a performance like this.
“Just when you think you’ve seen everything from a player, he goes and surprises you once more.
“We are always waiting to see just how he will raise the bar next.”
Barcelona is now 10 points clear at the top of the La Liga table. The BlauGrana face Las Palmas away on Thursday before a more challenging match next weekend against Atlético Madrid. Meanwhile, Girona will face Celta Vigo at home on Tuesday and hope to forget today’s result.