Lionel Messi scored a brace to ispire Barcelona to a 4-0 victory over SD Eibar. The game was far closer than the scoreline suggested, as Eibar made a good fist of the game after Munir El-Haddadi’s 7th minute opener, although Suarez completed the rout late on after Messi’ brace had given Barcelona an unassailable lead.
SD Eibar (4-2-3-1): Riesgo; Capa, Dos Santos, Pantic, Junca; Escalante, Garcia; Inui, Adrian, Berjon; Baston
FC Barcelona (4-3-3): Bravo; Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Turan; Suárez, Messi, Munir
Barcelona were in their much-criticized yellow-and-red change strip as they took to the pitch of Eibar’s tiny Ipurua stadium, some very unfamiliar surroundings. However, the Catalans were off the blocks right from the off, as they set about dominating possession, with Eibar struggling to get a touch on the ball in the opening minutes.
The Blaugranas made their dominance pay in the 7th minute, as Munir El-Haddadi scored the opener. Messi was the architect as his chipped ball over the top was perfectly timed to send Suarez clear on the right wing, and the Uruguayan’s low cross came to an onrushing Munir at the far post, who only had to tap the ball in.
Eibar came close to equalizing from a corner in the 12th minute, but Ramis headed narrowly over after climbing high in the box. Messi continued his chipping strategy, creating chances for Arda Turna and Munir, but they came to nothing. However, the goalscorer should’ve done better on the 32nd minute, as another Messi chip sent him through, and with Suarez square in front of an open goal, shot wide across goal.
Eibar went close seconds later with Escalante volleying wide from a delicious cross, while a mess of a clearance by Mancherano in the 40th minute allowed Eibar to cross with Busquets narrowly defelcting the ball wide. Just as the hosts looked to be getting a foothold, Messi made the game safe with a goal in the 42nd minute, rigling a low effort across goal into the bottom corner, giving Barcelona a 2-0 lead going into the break.
Eibar started the second half looking to contain Barcelona, and apart from a couple of near-misses that put Messi through, were able to keep the visitors at bay until the hour mark. After holding Barcelona off, Eibar began to grow into the game, as the hosts went close from a shot from Adrian Gonzalez after Enrich had held the ball up well.
However, with Messi in the side, Barcelona always have a threat, and the Argentine nearly tripled the visitor’s lead in the 70th minute, as his free kick stung the palms of Riesgo in the Eibar goal. The hosts had made a good fist of the second half, but once again were punished just as they started to get into the game, as they conceded a penalty minutes later.
Lionel Messi dribbled to the byline after having dummied a couple of times, deceived Ramis, with the Eibar defender sliding in but blocking the Argentine’s cross with his hand from close range. While the decision seemed harsh, Messi could not care less as he stepped up, and nonchalantly chipped the ball down the middle after Riesgo had commited and dived to his left.
With the game sewn up, Eibar heads dropped, but Suarez was in no mood to show mercy as he made it 4-0 in the 84th minute with a brilliant solo effort. The Uruguayan nutmegged Capa in the box, while later withstanding a shoulder barge from Dani Garcia, before rifling a shot past Riesgo into the bottom left corner from a narrowing angle.
As the final whistle blew, the records continued to tumble, as Barcelona extended their unbeaten streaak to 36 games, which extends their lead to 11 points with Atletico to take on Valencia later.Published 06 Mar 2016, 21:18 IST