Barcelona moved to the top of La Liga after beating Real Valladolid 5-1 at the Camp Nou on Tuesday night. Lionel Messi scored twice and assisted goals for Arturo Vidal and Luis Suarez, to lift the defending champions two points clear of surprise package Granada and Atletico Madrid, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Alaves earlier in the day.
Clement Lenglet gave the Blaugrana an early lead before Kiko Olivas drew Valladolid level after 15 minutes. Messi then seized control of the game to put Barca out of sight.
Barca went ahead inside two minutes when centre-back Lenglet met Messi’s cross first. To their credit, the visitors didn’t buckle after conceding early and drew level in the 15th minute when Kiko Olivas was able to scramble the ball over the line from close range
A rare mistake from Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen had given Valladolid hope. However, their luck was never likely to hold out with Messi in the mood to conjure more magic.
Barcelona’s No. 10 clipped an inch-perfect pass into the patch of Vidal, who was unerring in front of goal to restore the home side’s lead. Messi did even better when he curled in an exquisite free-kick 11 minutes before the break.
Scoring from set-piece situations has become a trademark for Messi during his time in the Spanish top flight:
Messi had put on a show, and he soon picked up where he left off after the restart by playing in Ansu Fati, but the 16-year-old couldn’t find the right finish.
Fati’s miss summed up how much the hosts struggled to click sans some inspiration from Messi:
Typically, it was Messi who again proved decisive when he bagged his brace on 74 minutes. Ivan Rakitic threaded the ball through, and Messi netted his fourth league goal on just his fourth start of what’s so far been an injury-hit beginning to the campaign.
Messi continued his awesome night by producing a deft one-two with Luis Suarez, allowing the Uruguayan to score Barca’s fifth. The move began with some fine work from Antoine Griezmann and offered a prime example of how easily and effectively the Blaugrana’s start-studded front three can turn on the style
On this evidence, it’s going to take a special efforts from their rivals to deny Barca another title. Messi is still the leading light, but Suarez, Griezmann and Fati offer the master the best support he’s had in a long time