Lionel Messi scored two sublime free-kicks as Barcelona beat Espanyol to move three points clear at the top of La Liga.
Messi first found the top corner from the edge of the penalty area to put the visitors ahead.
Ousmane Dembele doubled Barca’s lead with a curling finish before Luis Suarez made it 3-0 from a tight angle.
Another sensational Messi set-piece – this time from further out – completed the victory.
Sevilla had missed the chance to leapfrog Ernesto Valverde’s side earlier on Saturday as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Valencia.
That allowed Atletico Madrid, who recorded a comfortable 3-0 victory over fourth-placed Alaves, to briefly move level on points with the top two.
Barca, who face Tottenham in the Champions League on Tuesday, also hit the woodwork twice in a one-sided first half, Suarez slicing against the post from Messi’s pass before the latter crashed a header against the other post.
Espanyol improved after the interval and had a goal disallowed for offside when Oscar Duarte stabbed home Sergio Garcia’s cross from close range, but a comeback was never a serious possibility for the hosts.
The win cements Barcelona’s place at the La Liga summit, while Espanyol drop to ninth after slipping to a fourth consecutive league defeat.
Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in /home/anambrae/public_html/thefact/wp-content/themes/flex-mag/functions.php on line 982