Lionel Messi’s four goals led FC Barcelona to a 6-1 victory here over Eibar to leave the Catalan club in sole possession of first place in La Liga, with 15 points from five matches. Barca, with plenty of substitutes in the line-up, were not quite themselves in the opening minutes during the match on Tuesday and they owed their first goal to a poorly executed tackle in the area by Eibar’s Alex Galvez, Efe news reported.
The referee awarded the penalty and Messi converted from the spot to make it 1-0.
The Argentine striker forced a pair of good stops from Eibar goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic in the 26th and 37th minutes before Paulinho got the second goal for the hosts in the 38th, connecting with a thunderous header off Denis Suarez’s corner kick.
Barcelona took firm control in the second half, scoring three goals in the space of 10 minutes – a pair of them by Messi – while conceding one to Eibar’s Sergi Enrich.
Messi added a fourth goal in the 87th minute to make the final 6-1.
Earlier on Tuesday, Valencia pounded Malaga 5-0 to move into third place in La Liga. Like Barça, Valencia benefited from a great individual performance.
With Valencia leading 1-0 on a goal by Santi Mina, Simone Zaza sealed the triumph for the hosts, scoring three times between the 54th and 62nd minutes.
Rodrigo completed the rout with a goal in the 86th minute.