Messi bags brace in 4-0 Barca win as strike trio hit century

Tuesday, 8 March 2016 00:58 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

REUTERS: A double from Lionel Messi helped Barcelona secure a 4-0 victory at Eibar in La Liga on Sunday that moved them 11 points clear at the top and brought up 100 goals for their lethal strikeforce.

Munir El Haddadi, who was standing in for the suspended Neymar, tapped in the first early on, before Messi’s double, while Luis Suarez completed the rout.

Barcelona’s lethal attacking trio of Messi (35 goals), Suarez (42) and Neymar (23) have now scored a century of goals in all competitions this season.

Messi’s first was a fine solo goal, while his second came from the penalty spot as Barcelona stretched their advantage over second-place Atletico Madrid, who play at Valencia later on Sunday.

Barcelona extended their Spanish record unbeaten run to 36 matches, which has included 30 wins. They have not lost since Oct. 3.

They went in front in the eighth minute when Messi lifted a perfect pass forward to Suarez, who crossed from the right to the far post for Munir to tap in.

23-7Barcelona's Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Munir el Haddadi react after a penalty goal by Messi - REUTERS

Messi added the second three minutes before halftime after running from the centre circle and ignoring the strikers either side of him who stretched the defence wide.

The Argentina captain made it 3-0 when he dinked a 76th-minute penalty, awarded for handball by Ivan Ramis, past goalkeeper Asier Riesgo for his 21st La Liga goal.

Messi is six league goals behind Cristiano Ronaldo, who hit four in third-placed Real Madrid’s 7-1 romp at home to Celta Vigo on Saturday, and five short of Suarez.

Suarez scored the fourth when he shot past Riesgo from a narrow angle six minutes from time after knocking the ball through the legs of Ander Capa.

Eibar rarely troubled Claudio Bravo in the Barca goal but threatened in the 40th minute when Sergio Busquets almost turned a pass from Borja Baston into his own net.