Messi and Suarez inspire FC Barcelona to sensational victory

Lionel Messi celebrates with Luis Suarez after scoring a goal. Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Seville, Spain Jan 22, 2018, 03.26 AM (IST)

Barca defeated Real Betis and bounced back from their first defeat for 29 games in the Copa del Rey to secure an excellent 5-0 win in their third away match in a week.

This means the Catalans extended their lead to 11 points -- and 19 ahead of Real Madrid -- as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez both hit a brace in a 5-0 romp at Benito Villamarin stadium in Sevilla on January 21.

Messi thumped home the second from outside the box on 64 minutes before he and Rakitic teamed up to present Suarez with a volley on 69 minutes to effectively seal the three points.

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Betis were making mistakes at the back and when Zouhair Feddal clumsily gave the ball away on halfway to Suarez, the Uruguayan sent Messi scampering away.

Faced with two defenders, Messi dummied to shoot, drifted past both and calmly slotted home past goalkeeper Antonio Adan.

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There was still time for Suarez to complete his brace with a crisp finish after Messi had driven at the heart of an over-matched defence.

The only downside for the league leaders was a hamstring injury to Thomas Vermaelen in the first half that precipitated French centre-back Samuel Umtiti's own return from a hamstring problem.