Lionel Messi stellar in Barcelona win as Luis Suarez nets hat trick
Barcelona 6 - 1 Girona

Lionel Messi stellar in Barcelona win as Luis Suarez nets hat trick

24/02/2018

Luis Suarez fired a hat-trick and Lionel Messi a brace as Barcelona ran riot in a 6-1 win against Girona to stay on course for their 25th La Liga title.

Suarez and Messi both struck first-half doubles to take the game away from Girona, who paid for the impudence of taking a third-minute lead through Portu in their first visit to the Nou Camp.

Philippe Coutinho got in on the act in the second period with a brilliant fifth from 25 yards -- his first La Liga goal -- before Suarez, who also hit a post, completed his hat trick.

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde had hinted at changes, but Messi and Suarez both started, while Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele replaced Paulinho and Andres Iniesta.

Pere Pons, Pablo Maffeo and Anthony Lozano all returned to Girona's starting line-up, and Portu gave the visitors a dream start, robbing Samuel Umtiti on the edge of the penalty area and scoring from a tight angle after goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen had raced off his line.

Messi's slide-rule pass set up Suarez to rifle home an angled equaliser two minutes later and the Argentinian's free kick was brilliantly saved by Bono shortly afterwards.

Girona defender Bernardo's brilliant headed clearance denied Messi and Bono then did well to keep out Suarez's shot as Barca hit the groove.

Messi fired home his first after taking Suarez's pass and cutting inside when it seemed the chance had been lost and seven minutes later he drilled a low free kick beneath the wall to leave Bono stranded.

It was Messi's 371st league goal in just 407 appearances for the club.

Suarez then finished off a sweeping counter-attack involving Messi and Coutinho from five yards to make it 4-1 just before the interval.

Girona won automatic promotion last May and nine La Liga wins this season had lifted them up to ninth in the table heading into the match, but the gulf in class between them and their hosts was marked.

Suarez crashed a shot against a post early in the second half and Bono's save denied Messi his hat trick before Coutinho showcased his talents with a superb curling effort to put Barcelona 5-1 ahead in the 66th minute.

Bono denied Messi again with a flying save to turn away the Argentinian's free-kick, but an inevitable sixth goal duly arrived in the 76th minute.

Ivan Rakitic set Dembele away down the right and his sweeping cross was turned home by Suarez for his 20th goal in 22 league outings this season.

Substitute Thomas Vermaelen's header was pushed onto the crossbar by Bono and in a rare foray forward for Girona, Ter Stegen showed excellent concentration to keep out a late shot from Aleix Garcia.

Barcelona right-back Nelson Semedo appeared to injury his left leg late in the match when he needed to be attended by team doctors.

Barca have opened up a 10-point gap at the top of the table, with second-placed Atletico Madrid playing at Sevilla on Sunday.

Girona fell into ninth place. The Catalan club has impressed in their debut season in the first division, and lost only once in the six games prior to Saturday.

Related news

Barcelona beat Real Sociedad in Andres Iniesta's final game with club

Barcelona beat Real Sociedad in Andres Iniesta's final game with club

Andres Iniesta's final Barcelona appearance ended in victory on an emotional evening at the Nou Camp.

Fernando Torres scores fairy-tale double in Atletico Madrid farewell

Fernando Torres scores fairy-tale double in Atletico Madrid farewell

Fernando Torres scored twice on his final appearance for 10-man Atletico Madrid in Sunday's 2-2 draw against Eibar.

Luca Zidane starts as Real Madrid blow two-goal lead in Villarreal draw

Luca Zidane starts as Real Madrid blow two-goal lead in Villarreal draw

Real Madrid blew a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Villarreal in their final La Liga match ahead of the Champions League final against Liverpool.

Barcelona's quest to finish La Liga season unbeaten ends in surprise loss

Barcelona's quest to finish La Liga season unbeaten ends in surprise loss

Barcelona's quest for an unbeaten La Liga season came to a shocking end with a 5-4 defeat away to Levante on Sunday.

Gareth Bale stays hot with brace as Real Madrid cruise

Gareth Bale stays hot with brace as Real Madrid cruise

Gareth Bale scored twice to lead Real Madrid to a 6-0 rout over Celta Vigo in La Liga on Saturday.

Atletico Madrid beat Getafe with Koke goal to cement second place

Atletico Madrid beat Getafe with Koke goal to cement second place

Atletico Madrid warmed up for the Europa League final by taking a big step towards securing second spot in LaLiga with a 1-0 success at Getafe.

Sevilla ease past Real Madrid with goals from Ben Yedder, Layun

Sevilla ease past Real Madrid with goals from Ben Yedder, Layun

Sevilla remain in the hunt for a Europa League spot as Joaquin Caparros secured his first win since taking temporary charge with a 3-2 win over Real Madrid at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan.

Andres Iniesta shines as Barcelona down Villarreal, stay unbeaten

Andres Iniesta shines as Barcelona down Villarreal, stay unbeaten

Andres Iniesta provided two world-class assists and Ousmane Dembele added two late goals as La Liga champions Barcelona saw off Villarreal 5-1 on Wednesday to maintain their quest for an unbeaten domestic league season.

Real Madrid rally for draw against 10-man Barcelona with late Bale goal

Real Madrid rally for draw against 10-man Barcelona with late Bale goal

Gareth Bale's equaliser helped Real Madrid rally for a 2-2 draw against 10-man Barcelona in a combative affair on Sunday night at the Camp Nou.

RELATED NEWS

Barcelona beat Real Sociedad in Andres Iniesta's final game with club
Barcelona 1 - 0 Real Sociedad

Barcelona beat Real Sociedad in Andres Iniesta's final game with club

Andres Iniesta's final Barcelona appearance ended in victory on an emotional evening at the Nou Camp.

Fernando Torres scores fairy-tale double in Atletico Madrid farewell
Atletico Madrid 2-2 Eibar

Fernando Torres scores fairy-tale double in Atletico Madrid farewell

Fernando Torres scored twice on his final appearance for 10-man Atletico Madrid in Sunday's 2-2 draw against Eibar.

Luca Zidane starts as Real Madrid blow two-goal lead in Villarreal draw
Villarreal 2 - 2 Real Madrid

Luca Zidane starts as Real Madrid blow two-goal lead in Villarreal draw

Real Madrid blew a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Villarreal in their final La Liga match ahead of the Champions League final against Liverpool.

Barcelona's quest to finish La Liga season unbeaten ends in surprise loss
Levante 5 - 4 Barcelona

Barcelona's quest to finish La Liga season unbeaten ends in surprise loss

Barcelona's quest for an unbeaten La Liga season came to a shocking end with a 5-4 defeat away to Levante on Sunday.

Gareth Bale stays hot with brace as Real Madrid cruise
Real Madrid 6 - 0 Celta Vigo

Gareth Bale stays hot with brace as Real Madrid cruise

Gareth Bale scored twice to lead Real Madrid to a 6-0 rout over Celta Vigo in La Liga on Saturday.

Atletico Madrid beat Getafe with Koke goal to cement second place
Getafe 0 - 1 Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid beat Getafe with Koke goal to cement second place

Atletico Madrid warmed up for the Europa League final by taking a big step towards securing second spot in LaLiga with a 1-0 success at Getafe.

Sevilla ease past Real Madrid with goals from Ben Yedder, Layun
Sevilla 3 - 2 Real Madrid

Sevilla ease past Real Madrid with goals from Ben Yedder, Layun

Sevilla remain in the hunt for a Europa League spot as Joaquin Caparros secured his first win since taking temporary charge with a 3-2 win over Real Madrid at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan.

Andres Iniesta shines as Barcelona down Villarreal, stay unbeaten
Barcelona 5 - 1 Villarreal

Andres Iniesta shines as Barcelona down Villarreal, stay unbeaten

Andres Iniesta provided two world-class assists and Ousmane Dembele added two late goals as La Liga champions Barcelona saw off Villarreal 5-1 on Wednesday to maintain their quest for an unbeaten domestic league season.

Real Madrid rally for draw against 10-man Barcelona with late Bale goal
Barcelona 2 - 2 Real Madrid

Real Madrid rally for draw against 10-man Barcelona with late Bale goal

Gareth Bale's equaliser helped Real Madrid rally for a 2-2 draw against 10-man Barcelona in a combative affair on Sunday night at the Camp Nou.