Lionel Messi guides Barcelona to derby victory over Espanyol

WION Web Team Barcelona, Spain Mar 30, 2019, 11.01 PM(IST)

Barcelona's Lionel Messi in action with Espanyol's Victor Sanchez. Photograph:( Reuters )

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With second-placed Atletico Madrid travelling to Alaves later in the day, the champions took advantage of the chance to extend their lead.

Lionel Messi scored two goals to give Barcelona a 2-0 derby win over Espanyol and send them 13 points clear at the top of La Liga on Saturday.

With second-placed Atletico Madrid travelling to Alaves later in the day, the champions took advantage of the chance to extend their lead.

Messi, the division's top scorer with 31 goals, was at the receiving end in his native Argentina after withdrawing from a friendly against Morocco because of a groin problem. 

But today he was hailed by Barcelona fans after taking them one step closer to retaining the title.

Barcelona were far below their fluid best but two moments of skill from talisman Messi secured three points from an otherwise forgettable game.