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Barcelona 3-1 Leganes: Cameo performance from Messi wins it for hosts

Barcelona 3-1 Leganes: Cameo performance from Messi wins it for hosts

Lionel Messi assisted one and scored another as Barcelona beat Leganes 3-1 on Sunday evening.

Barca boss Ernesto Valverde opted to heavily rotate his squad for the visit of Mauricio Pellegrino’s side and it saw Messi and Ivan Rakitic settle for a place on the bench.

The first half belonged to the home side, who relied on the likes of Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez to perform – and the former was in sensational form, creating several chances for his team-mates.

And, his reward would come for his first 45 minutes when he was played in by Jordi Alba, before tapping home past Ivan Cuellar.

The second half saw the game change slightly, however, as Martin Braithwaite got the visitors back on level terms.

The former Middlesbrough man has now scored once against Real Madrid and once against Barcelona in the space of four days.

Dembele was then hauled off for Barca through an ankle injury, seeing the introduction of Malcom, with Carles Alena also being replaced by Messi, and Rakitic was also hauled on.

Barca would now knock on the door once more and it was Messi who was the creator for their second as his superb effort was saved by Cuellar but Suarez was on hand to tap home the rebound.

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The Catalan giants sealed the win when Messi and Jordi Alba combined, before the Argentine notched his 18th league goal of the season.