Barca 5-0 Espanyol: Messi hat-trick wins Catalan derby
Lionel Messi pulled away in the Pichichi race with a hat trick on
Saturday as Barcelona dispatched their noisyneighbours 5-0 at Camp Nou
in the season’s first Catalan derby.
Barcelona took a 2-0 lead at half-time in the Catalan derby thanks to
Lionel Messi’s brace. The Argentine added his and Barca’s third six
minutes after the hour mark to extend his La Liga goals tally to five
in three games.
Gerard Pique climbed highest in the final four minutes to head home a
superbly delivered corner kick by Ivan Rakitic, leaving the returning
Saurez to complete the rout on the stroke of 90 minutes, condemning
their visitors to their second defeat after three league games.
SETTING THE SCENE
Record signing Ousmane Dembele was named as a substitute by Barca, but
they had Luis Suarez back spearheading their front line, a month after
he pulled with a knee injury against Real Betis.
Dembele was included in the matchday squad for the first time but
failed to displace Gerard Deulofeu on the left wing. Suarez, however,
had recovered from a knee injury to once more spearhead the
Blaugrana’s attacking trident.
Elsewhere for the Barcelona, Nelson Semedo started ahead of Sergi
Roberto and Aleix Vidal – both of whom were culled – at right-back,
while Sergio Busquets returned in central midfield.
Espanyol, meanwhile, handed a debut to former Malaga midfielder Sergi
Darder, a season-long loan arrival from Olympique Lyonnais.