Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were unstoppable as the pair made sure Barcelona cruised to a 5-0 big win over Real Betis in Sunday's La Liga showdown at Camp Nou.
In a blistering ten-minute spell, Ivan Rakitic
broke the deadlock as he made a run from midfield and was found by an inch-perfect through ball from Suárez, leaving the midfielder with the time and space to calmly slot the ball under Adan in the 59th minute.
Barca caught Betis napping five minutes later as Busquets dispossessed Fabian. The holding midfielder fed Messi
, who was just onside, and the Blaugrana star smashed the ball past Adan to put his team in control.
Strike partner Suarez
didn’t want to miss out on the action as he scored his side’s third in a ruthless spell. Barca once again pressed high up and won the ball. This time, Rakitic picked up the ball from Messi and crossed for the Uruguayan to slam home on the volley for his ninth in the last seven appearances.
The result was beyond doubt at 3-0 and Leo added some gloss to the scoreline as Feddal gave the ball away, Suárez passed to Messi
, who went past two defenders and rolled the ball into the net.
Messi almost got his hat trick
before gloriously dribbling past three players near his own box.
Messi and Suarez then combined for the fifth and final goal of the night. Messi dribbled into the box once again and slipped the ball out to his strike partner, who curled it into the top corner in the 89th minute, making 100 goals in the league for Luis Suarez
in a Barça shirt.
The victory means the blaugranas
have opened up an eleven-point lead over Atlético in second place as the team from Madrid were held to a draw against Girona on Saturday.SETTING THE SCENE
Samuel Umtiti returned after two months out with a hamstring injury, as was Gerard Deulofeu, who had a spell in the wilderness.
However, Yerry Mina had been given more time to adapt, while Denis Suarez joined Ousmane Dembele, Paco Alcacer, Andres Iniesta and Javier Mascherano on the sidelines.
Rafinha was also absent so he can complete his proposed transfer to Inter, while Philippe Coutinho is only a week away from his League debut.
Betis, meanwhile, had won their last two League games after one victory in nine before that. The Andalusians before this game had not beaten Barca at home in almost 10 years but did hold the leaders to a 1-1 draw this time last year, which was marred by a 'ghost goal'.
The Blaugrana are the highest scorers in La Liga with 57 goals to their name, while Betis come in at sixth with 33.
The home side continued in that vein for the opening 45 minutes limiting Barca to half-chances and showing a willingness to go toe-to-toe with the Blaugrana.
The League leaders eventually broke the deadlock on the hour mark, but it was worth the wait as Ivan Rakitic's slotted finish broke their seal.
Indeed, four more goals followed, starting with Sergio Busquets winning the ball high up the field and teeing up Messi for an explosive finish.
Rakitic then returned the favour
for Suarez, his pinpoint cross being volleyed home by the Uruguayan first time.
The final 10 minutes was effectively one extended one-two between Messi and Suarez as the No 10 took down his striker partner's diagonal ball and picked his spot past Antonio Adan.
The roles were soon reversed, and with merely seconds left of normal time, Messi laid off his fellow South American for a shot into the roof of Adan's net.
However, the evening was spoiled somewhat by Vermaelen hobbling off with an apparent hamstring injury, which had previously tainted his career at Camp Nou.