Published: Sun, December 09, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Lionel Messi Hits Two Perfect Free-Kick Goals vs. Espanyol

Lionel Messi Hits Two Perfect Free-Kick Goals vs. Espanyol

Messi scored two stunning free kicks to make it 23 derby goals, while fellow forwards Dembele and Luis Suarez also registered at the RCDE Stadium.

Messi was leading Espanyol a merry dance and he set up Barca's second in the 26th minute, twisting and turning defenders on the edge of the box before slicing the back four open with a fine pass for Dembele, who cut inside and fired across Lopez into the top-right corner.

Messi began stealing the show after his roving left-foot pass over the defence found Suarez who took aim with an acrobatic volley but was denied by the post.

The first free kick came in the 17th minute from about 25 metres (yards) away.

Dembele turned provider this time, slipping his fellow forward in in the left-hand channel, with Suarez doing brilliantly to hold off the challenge of a defender and somehow squeeze a finish through the legs of Lopez and into the far corner from the narrowest of angles.

Espanyol improved after the interval and had a goal disallowed for offside when Oscar Duarte stabbed home Sergio Garcia's cross from close range, but a comeback was never a serious possibility for the hosts.

Sevilla were on track to go top earlier in the day, but Valencia scored a 92nd-minute equaliser, although Atletico Madrid exerted some pressure by thumping Deportivo Alaves 3-0.

Messi was in fine form against derby rivals Espanyol. But it was Barca causing all the issues once more.

The win cements Barcelona's place at the La Liga summit, while Espanyol drop to ninth after slipping to a fourth consecutive league defeat. We were also great against Real Madrid.

- No player has made more assists than Barcelona's Lionel Messi in the Europe's top five leagues this season (eight, level with Chelsea's Eden Hazard and Milan's Suso).

Espanyol have now lost four league games in a row, their strong start to the season fading badly.

Messi has mastered the art of the free-kick in recent years but this is up there with his best as he gave Espanyol goalkeeper Diego Lopez no chance from 30 yards to open the scoring in the derbi barceloní on Saturday night.

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