Messi double, Suarez stunner take Barca top

The champions' talisman missed the 4-1 defeat of Granada last time out due to an accumulation of yellow cards, but more than made up for lost time in Wednesday's resounding success at Camp Nou with a brace and an assist.

Lionel Messi, well rested after missing games for club and country through suspension in the last week, created the first goal for Luis Suarez and then scored two of his own as Barca killed off Sevilla in eight first-half minutes.

Barcelona moved one point ahead of Madrid, but Zinedine Zidane's team can retake the lead when it plays at struggling Leganes later Wednesday.

This is published unedited from the ANI feed.

Messi, picking up a ball won by Ivan Rakitic on the half way line, ran down a right channel, avoiding the attention of three opponents, to cross for Luis Suarez, who finished with a spectacular overhead kick.

After the global break, Suarez played and scored a goal in Barcelona's 4-1 win at Granada on Sunday, April 2.

Sevilla suffered a fourth La Liga game without a win when they were held to a goalless draw at home by lowly Sporting Gijon on Sunday.

For Barcelona, the result means that Real Madrid will go into the Madrid derby on Saturday knowing that should they slip up, the Catalans will leapfrog them should they beat Malaga later on the day. Among the setbacks was the disappointing elimination to Leicester in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Luis Enrique hailed Barcelona's "best first-half performance of the season" as they kept the pressure on La Liga leaders Real Madrid by swatting aside Sevilla yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Real Madrid are not only atop the La Liga but they also have one match in hand. "It's great when you can make up for absent players with the type of squad we have, because it is with squads that win you trophies". The trio didn't seem to be at the peak of their powers for most of this season, at least not as a unit, with Lionel Messi outshining the other two on most occasions, despite Neymar impressing with glimpses of his genius and Suarez with his prolific goalscoring. "There's a bit of bitterness for those 20 seconds in Turin, two instances in which we weren't lucky and which changed the situation". Sevilla midfielder Vitolo was sent off after tripping up Neymar just before the game ended.

  • Julie Sanders