Eibar (Spain), Jan 23 (IANS) Barcelona, with a stellar performance by Lionel Messi, defeated Eibar 4-0 at the Municipal de Ipurua here.
Despite the fact that captain Andres Iniesta did not play on Sunday’s match, Barcelona quickly pulled themselves together and it was Denis Suarez who got the team on the board first in the 31st minute after a blocked shot by Messi that came to him, whereupon he fired in a scorcher from 20 metres,reports Efe.
The home team was unable to really get anything going against the clearly superior Catalonian team, although they managed to manufacture a handful of decent changes, all of which, however, went away.
After the break, Messi continued in top form scoring his 28th tally of the season in the 49th minute, and then it was the turn of Luis Suarez to take advantage of a monumental error by Florian Lejeune for a tally of his own.
Neymar also managed to score for the first time since October in La Liga action during extra time before the 6,300-odd fans who turned out at the Ipurua stadium for the match.
With the win, Luis Enrique’s squad remains in third place in the 19th week of Spain’s First Division season, although they have battled their way to within two points of league-leaders Real Madrid and just one point in back of second-place Sevilla.
In another match in Madrid, France international Antoine Griezmann scored a stunner for Atletico Madrid, enabling his team to salvage an away point in a 2-2 La Liga draw against Athletic Bilbao.
Griezmann hit a brilliant long-range shot after picking up the ball from teammate Fernando Torres and powering it low into the back of the net 10 minutes before the final whistle.
Both teams were level at 1-1 at half time after Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion scored the opener for Atletico in the third minute and Iñigo Lekue levelled for Bilbao three minutes before the half-time whistle.
Lekue had received the ball in space on the edge of the penalty area and drove it past Atletico goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya.
Bilbao took the lead six minutes into the second half when Oscar De Marcos converted Raul Garcia’s cross with a header.
The hosts managed to maintain their lead until the 80th minute, just when Griezmann worked his magic to rescue a point.
With the point earned, Atletico remained fourth in the standings with 35 points which Real Sociedad might also get, but with a worse goal average.
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