Barcelona v Espanyol - story of the match

Barcelona v Espanyol - story of the match

Barcelona v Espanyol - story of the match

Aritz Aduriz scored his 150th goal for Athletic in the second half after Iker Muniain opened the scoring with a smart finish from an Inaki Williams cross in the 25th minute.

"He's the best player in the world and it's a privilege to play with him", he added.

Earlier, Real paid for the absence of the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo and a series of missed chances by Gareth Bale as they were held to a shock 1-1 home draw by newly-promoted Levante.

Espanyol haven't won a Catalan derby since 2009, but did have their chances to get back into the game as Pablo Piatti struck the post and then fired inches wide either side of half-time.

Man of the match - Lionel Messi It was a flawless showing from Messi whose technique and vision were a microcosm of everything we've come to expect from the Argentine.

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But the Argentinean Wizard didn't stop there, he went-on to complete his hat-trick after the break from another Alba cross, putting Barca in a commanding position.

With the result secure, Ernesto Valverde sent on Dembele in the 68th minute to make his debut, replacing Gerard Deulofeu to great applause from the Nou Camp faithful.

Ter Stegen produced another fine save to tip away an angled drive by Espanyol substitute Didac Vila, before Pique headed in from a corner with three minutes left.

Messi maintained his sizzling club form with goals in the 26th, 35th and 67th minute to propel the Blaugrana to the top of the league table with nine points from three matches.

And Luis Suarez scored a fifth at the death, sliding home Ousmane Dembele's inch-perfect cross from a counter-attack.

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