Barcelona make just one change for derby with Espanyol

Carrie Guzman
December 9, 2018

Lionel Messi has become a master of free-kicks for Barcelona and the stats are here to back up that claim.

Messi tormented Espanyol's defence and created several openings for his team mates, with Suarez hitting the post from one delightful lobbed pass.

The Barcelona captain, who finished fifth in this year's Ballon d'Or vote, curled in another superb dead-ball strike in the 65th minute to cap a fine individual and team performance.

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's long wait for a derby win goes on, and the hosts were denied a consolation goal in the 74th minute when defender Oscar Duarte stabbed the ball in at close range from a free-kick.

Barca's front three were all in fine form but Messi was the conductor at the heart of all their play.

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"Luka Modric won (the Ballon d'Or) and we have to congratulate him but it's a bit unusual because Messi gives stunning performances day after day, which no other player does".

The Argentinean scored two goals and had a hand in two more as his side thrashed city rivals, Espanyol in Espanyol's Cornella El-Prat Stadium.

Espanyol's fourth consecutive league defeat left them ninth in the standings, but they didn't stand a chance with Messi in this mood.

Key Opta stats:- Ousmane Dembele has been directly involved in eight goals in his last eight games for Barcelona in all competitions (three goals and five assists). Messi also has won the Ballon d'Or five times, in addition to nine La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies.

Lionel Messi scores two stunning free kicks as Barcelona record a 4-0 win over Espanyol in Saturday night's Catalan derby.

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

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