Messi-Suarez net in Barcelona win over Levante
Published: 11:25 AM, 8 January 2018 Updated: 01:16 PM, 11 January 2018
Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez scored first-half goals which lead to Barca a 3-0 win over Levante on Sunday to restore their nine-point advantage.
Messi made his 400th appearance in La Liga by giving Barcelona the early lead which took him to his all-time record in the competition to 365 goals.
Suarez doubled the advantage before halftime and Messi set up Paulinho to round off the win in stoppage time.
Luis Suarez added a second goal before the break and Paulinho tapped in a third goal took Barcelona ahead of Atletico Madrid, who had beaten Getafe on Saturday.
Midfielder Ousmane Dembele came back into the team who suffered a hamstring injury on his LaLiga debut match, while Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta made his 650th appearance.
Levante started the match superbly and offered a threat on 19 minutes when Marc-André ter Stegen had to be alert to push a low shot from Iván López behind. But after 37 minutes Barcelona added a second goal.
In the first-half stoppage time Levante keeper Oier Olazabal produced a decent save after Messi played a tremendous shot.
Levante almost reduced the deficit at the start of the second half when Lopez again forced Ter Stegen into a fine reaction save.
The Barcelona keeper had to be alert again on 65 minutes as he stuck out a leg to block a low shot from Shaquell Moore.
Barcelona accumulated their third goal in the stoppage time when Paulinho tapped a close-range shot after Suarez stepped over a low cross from Messi.