Barcelona kept the pressure on Real Madrid at the top of La Liga with a 3-0 win at home on Saturday against Athletic Bilbao.
Paco Alcacer, Lionel Messi and Aleix Vidal scored the goals for the hosts, who now have 45 points and are one point behind leaders Real Madrid.
After Alcacer scored the opener, Messi scored a clever free-kick goal to make it 2-0 before Vidal finished off Bilbao with a fine goal in the second half.
The win is Barcelona’s fourth straight at home in league play.
Midfielder Rafinha however had to be taken off after suffering what looked like a horrific cut to his face after colliding with teammate TerStegen.
Messi continued his rich vein of form and has already scored 4 goals from free-kicks till the 1st week of February. In contrast the highest goals he scored from free-kicks in a calendar was way back in 2012 with 5 strikes. It looks he is all set to break his own record and at this pace he may also have Zico’s 12 strikes in a year at his sights.
In the other good news Paco Alcacer opened his account to end his La Liga drought after Luis Suarez was benched or rather rested in view of the upcoming fixtures.Aleix Vidal is also turning out to be a real asset to the side after another stellar performance. Surely now he has caught the eye of the boss and the fans alike.
“We created enough chances to win the game, even though the score line is perhaps a little excessive given how much trouble they gave us,” Barçamanager Luis Enrique said. “But we showed a great attitude and personality even though the pressure they put us under was oppressive.”
The Catalans return to action on Tuesday in the Copa Del Rey against Atletico Madrid holding a 2-1 advantage after the first leg of the semifinal in which Messi and Suarez scored magnificent goals to give the lead while Griezmann pulled one back for the hosts to keep their hopes alive.