Messi double sends Barca top

Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona beat Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan to move top of La Liga.

Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas scored Los Cules' other goals in a 4-1 win after Alberto Moreno gave Sevilla the lead.

Barca are level on points with the Madrid clubs and go into first place on goal difference and the head-to-head record.

The game was played in truly awful conditions with torrential rain falling on a pitch that had standing water even prior to kick-off.

The ball was noticeably slowing in puddles on the pitch and any passes hit with force sent water splashing into the air, while one early Nico Pareja tackle looked more like something out of a water park.

Moreno put Sevilla in front when his shot, at the end of a neat move, was deflected past Victor Valdes.  Alexis equalised 20 minutes later in controversial fashion when he used the back of his head to convert a Messi free-kick but he appeared to be in an offside position.

Sevilla were adamant the free-kick was wrongly awarded, claiming Pareja won the ball when he challenged Messi.

Messi put Barca in front on the brink of half-time with a powerful shot to end a lightning counter-attack.

Barca broke in numbers and avoided desperate Sevilla lunges with Messi thumping past Beto for a barely deserved lead.

Sevilla should have been clear by that point when Carlos Bacca’s header hit the post and Ivan Rakitic shot wide when he had Vitolo well-placed in support.

Both sides went close to scoring shortly after the re-start, Vitolo putting a tame shot wide after robbing Martin Montoya and going clean through and Alexis dragging wide a few minutes later.

Valdes then made a double save to maintain Barca’s advantage, first from Bacca and then Kevin Gameiro.

Messi did find the back of the net, somehow putting the ball past Beto when there didn’t seem to be a gap. The forward converted a clever pass from Andres Iniesta, making his first start since mid-January.

Bacca’s running caused Barca problems but Valdes was alert and closed out any sight of goal the Colombian could find.

Sevilla were always a threat from set-pieces and created a couple of goal-mouth scrambles as Barca’s attempts to clear were hampered by the water on the pitch.

Messi could have been given a penalty when a Federico Fazio tackle didn’t take much of the ball but no spot kick was awarded.

Barca though largely took the sting out the game by keeping possession as the clock ticked down, suffocating Sevilla’s resilience in the final 10 minutes with a bout of keep-ball.

Adriano suddenly exploded on the overlap and went close to a fourth before Fabregas did add to the lead in the final minutes.

Sevilla 1-4 Barca

Scorers: Moreno 15 (SEV), Alexis 34, Messi 45, 56, Cesc 88 (FCB)

Sevilla: Beto, Diogo, Fazio, Parejo, Moreno; Rakitic, Carrico, Iborra (Trochowski 64); Gameiro (Cheryshev 64), Bacca, Vitolo (Jairo 75)

Barcelona: Valdes, Montoya, Pique, Bartra, Adriano; Xavi (Busquets 84), Song, Iniesta; Alexis (Sergi 88), Messi, Pedro (Cesc 73)

Tags Alberto Moreno Alexis Fabregas Messi
La Liga - Club News