Barcelona made it six League wins out of six after they eased to a 3-0 victory over Catalan neighbours Girona on Saturday.
Two own goals and a Luis Suarez strike on his 100th appearance in La Liga ensured Barca not only stayed four points clear at the top but also earned bragging rights in the first-ever derby of its kind.
The Blaugrana lined up in a 4-4-2 formation, with Sergi Roberto and Andres Iniesta flanking Ivan Rakitic and Paulinho. Up top, Lionel Messi – fresh from scoring four goals against Eibar – played just off Suarez, who returned after his bench role midweek.
Girona, meanwhile, started with three Manchester City loanees in Pablo Maffeo, Aleix Garcia and Douglas Luiz.
However, they had not won any of their last three games – in stark contrast to Barca, who were top after five straight victories.
Aleix Vidal was soon away in the clear with only Gorka Iraizoz to beat, but his close-range finish was blocked by the goalkeeper’s legs.
Girona almost took a historic lead themselves as Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s stop to deny Douglas Luiz’s rasping strike spilled straight to Portu, whose finish from a couple of yards out was blocked by the goalkeeper.
Luis Suarez was experiencing something of a drought prior to kick-off, with only one League goal to his name, The Uruguayan managed to round Iraizoz, but his cutback rolled behind the No 10.
Nonetheless, Alba’s first-time volley deflected off Aday Benitez and past Iraizoz to give Barca the lead, before Messi curled a free kick on target, which the Basque tipped around the post.
The left-back could’ve scored his second moments later as he was expertly picked out with a square ball in Girona’s penalty area, but Iraizoz kept out his half-volley.
Ivan Rakitic then unleashed a missile, which Iraizoz had to turn around his left-hand post, while an unmarked Paulinho headed the resulting corner across the former Athletic Bilbao man.
Just three minutes into the second half, Vidal took on Suarez's layoff down the right and got to the byline, before pulling off a sumptuous flick, which squeezed through Iraizoz’s legs.
Douglas should’ve at least tested Ter Stegen when he met a cross in Barca’s box, but he couldn’t keep his free header down!
That was followed by Suarez teaching a lesson in finishing as he brought down a long ball and found the perfect balance of power and precision to beat Iraizoz.
Girona ran out of steam after that goal, but captain Pere Pons could’ve still netted his side a famous consolation. However, he couldn’t keep his piledriver down from just inside the box.
Girona 0-3 Barcelona
Aday og 17, Iraizoz og 48, Suarez 69
Girona: Iraizoz; Juanpe, Bernardo, Ramalho; Maffeo (Marlos 78), Aleix Garcia, Pons, Aday (Mojica 69); Portu, Douglas Luiz; Olunga (Kayode 60)
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Vidal (Gomes 81), Mascherano, Umtiti, Alba; Sergi, Rakitic, Paulinho (Busquets 67), Iniesta (Denis 80); Messi, Suarez
Referee: Sanchez Martinez