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Football news - Lionel Messi makes history with 400th La Liga goal as Barcelona crush Eibar

Messi makes history with 400th La Liga goal as Barca crush Eibar

14/01/2019 at 02:25Updated 14/01/2019 at 03:41

La Liga, Camp Nou – Barcelona 3 (Suarez 19’ 59’, Messi 53’) Eibar 0

Barcelona maintained their five-point lead age the top of the Liga table with a comfortable 3-0 win over Eibar in which Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez shone.

Atletico Madrid’s win over Levante earlier in the day cut the Catalans’ lead at the top of the standings to just two points, but against a spirited Eibar side who held their own for much of the game Barca restored their advantage, with Lionel Messi also making history.

Suarez opened the scoring after 19 minutes, linking up well with Coutinho to finish into the far corner of the net. Messi doubled Barcelona’s advantage with a well-taken finish, essentially putting his team out of sight.

The finishing touches were put on the victory by Suarez, who fooled everyone by shaping for a cross into the box, only to swerve an outside-of-the-boot finish past Asier Riesgo. This was a comfortable win for Barca as they took another stride towards retaining their title.

TALKING POINT - Was this the start of Philippe Coutinho’s resurgence?

In recent weeks, Coutinho has been something of a peripheral figure at Barcelona. The Brazilian had seemingly lost the faith of manager Ernesto Valverde and lost his place in the team to Ousmane Dembele. So it was therefore surprising to see his name on the team sheet for this one. But this was game served as a reminder of Coutinho’s quality and what he can offer Barcelona. He was impressive.

MAN OF THE MATCH - Luis Suarez (Barcelona)

Coutinho shone, but Suarez was the best player on the pitch. The Uruguayan now has five goals in his last five games in all competitions, bagging a brace here. Eibar just couldn’t deal with with Suarez and that ultimately told. Much has been said of the void that will be left after Messi’s exit, whenever that comes. But what about Suarez? Replacing him won’t be easy either.

PLAYER RATINGS

Barcelona - Ter Stegen 6, Pique 6, Alba 6, Lenglet 5, Roberto 6, Busquets 6, Arthur 5, Rakitic 6, Coutinho 8, Suarez 9, Messi 7. Subs - Vidal 5, Semedo 5, Dembele 7.

Eibar - Riesgo 7, Pena 5, Bigas 5, Arbilla 6, Cote 5, Escalante 6, Diop 6, Orellana 6, Cucurella 7, Jordan 5, Sergi 7. Subs - De Blasis 5, Garcia 5, Cardona 5.

KEY MOMENTS

19’ GOAL! Barcelona 1-0 Eibar: There's the opener and it has gone the way of Barcelona! Coutinho and Suarez played a lovely one-two as they surged towards goal, with the former playing through the latter. Suarez made no mistake in finding the far corner of the net.

53’ GOAL! Barcelona 2-0 Eibar: There's the landmark goal! That's Barcelona's second goal of the night, and it's Messi's 400th La Liga goal of his career. It was Coutinho and Suarez and the Argentinian who linked up and Messi applied the low finish into the bottom corner.

57’ Messi should score! It's not often that the Barcelona number 10 misses a chance like that. Coutinho played him clean through, but one-on-one Messi puts his shot straight at Riesgo.

59’ GOAL! Barcelona 3-0 Eibar: There's the third goal and that should be the points wrapped up for Barcelona. Everyone expected Suarez to pick out a teammate when he was played through down the right channel, but with the outside of his boot he finds the back of the net. Sensational.

KEY STATS

Lionel Messi became the first player in history to score 400 La Liga goals, and only the second player in Europe after Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi made fewer touches and played fewer passes than anyone else on the pitch in the first half.

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