2016/2017 Spanish Primera División
  • Luis Suárez (25')
  • Lionel Messi (28', 33')
  • Vitolo (90'+1')

Lionel Messi scores brace as Barcelona cruise past Sevilla

Lionel Messi celebrates one of his goals in Barca's defeat of Sevilla. LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images

Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona produced a scintillating first-half display in their 3-0 win against Sevilla.

Messi bagged a brace after Luis Suarez's overhead kick had given the hosts a 25th-minute lead.

Luis Enrique's side coasted through the second period to record a ninth win in 10 La Liga matches while the visitors had Vitolo sent off in stoppage time.

Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli is among those tipped to succeed the outgoing Enrique at the Nou Camp next season, but his side fell apart after Suarez broke the deadlock and saw their winless league run extend to five games.

Barcelona served a warning of what was to come in the fourth minute when Andres Iniesta and Luis Suarez combined on the edge of the area before Messi's first-time effort hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced to safety.

The visitors did have their moments early on and should have taken the lead in the 16th minute. Sergio Escudero's long throw found its way to Steven Nzonzi, but with just Marc-Andre ter Stegen to beat the former Stoke midfielder tamely hit his shot against the goalkeeper's leg.

Sevilla wasted another golden chance in the 24th minute when a Samir Nasri free kick was headed over by an unmarked Vitolo.

And they were punished a minute later when Messi's surging run and cross from the right was not dealt with and Suarez reacted quickest to the loose ball in the six-yard box to acrobatically find the net.

Three minutes later Messi finished off a rapid break to make it 2-0. Ivan Rakitic released Neymar down the left and after his cross came to Suarez at the back post, the former Liverpool man squared for Messi to slot home from six yards.

The game was as good as over in the 33rd minute when Messi scored his second of the evening and 43rd of the campaign. A poor header by Nicolas Pareja dropped perfectly for the Argentinian, who volleyed past a helpless Sergio Rico from 12 yards.

Messi could have secured the match ball before half-time but he was denied by Rico, who also had to save from Neymar ahead of the interval.

Sevilla improved slightly in the second period. Pablo Sarabia fired straight at Ter Stegen in the 62nd minute before the half-time substitute fired into the side netting from a similar position soon after.

At the other end, Iniesta was found by a superb Messi pass but the Spain midfielder could not get the ball out of his feet with just the goalkeeper to beat.

Iniesta then produced a fine through ball to send Paco Alcacer through on goal but the substitute could only fire straight at Rico.

Stevan Jovetic fired wide at the other end and Sevilla's miserable evening was rounded off when Vitolo saw red in stoppage time for his second booking.