Spanish La Liga
BarcelonaBarcelona3AlavésAlavés0

Lionel Messi scores twice as Barcelona start La Liga title defence with 3-0 win over Alaves

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi also scored a low free-kick against Girona in February

Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona got their La Liga title defence off to a winning start with a deserved, hard-fought victory over Alaves.

Messi fired a fantastic free-kick under the wall to open the scoring - Barcelona's 6,000th La Liga goal.

Half-time substitute Philippe Coutinho then cut inside to curl home a second.

And Messi controlled Luis Suarez's pass with his chest, beat two defenders and steered a low shot into the bottom corner of the net in injury time.

Messi, now Barcelona's captain after Andres Iniesta's move to Japan, had also hit the woodwork twice - with a free-kick that deflected off the bar and another effort coming off the post.

He has scored in 15 consecutive La Liga seasons.

Barcelona were made to work hard for the win by Alaves, who offered little going forward and only had three shots, none on target, and 21% possession.

Messi, who also hit Barcelona's 5,000th La Liga goal eight years ago, has scored 6.4% of the club's top-flight goals ever.

Barcelona, who brought on summer signings Arthur and Arturo Vidal for league debuts, beat Sevilla 2-1 in the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday.

Real Madrid get their league campaign under way on Sunday, at home to Getafe (21:15 BST). Atletico Madrid visit Valencia on Monday (19:00 BST).

Elsewhere in La Liga, Villarreal midfielder Santi Cazorla made his first appearance since October 2016 for Arsenal following a serious Achilles tendon injury. Unfortunately for him, his side lost 2-1 at home to Real Sociedad.

Line-ups

Barcelona

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1ter Stegen
  • 2Nélson SemedoSubstituted forCoutinhoat 45'minutes
  • 3Piqué
  • 23Umtiti
  • 18Alba
  • 20Roberto
  • 5BusquetsSubstituted forVidalat 85'minutes
  • 4Rakitic
  • 11DembéléSubstituted forArthurat 77'minutes
  • 9Suárez
  • 10Messi

Substitutes

  • 7Coutinho
  • 8Arthur
  • 12Rafinha
  • 13Cillessen
  • 14Malcom
  • 15Lenglet
  • 22Vidal

Alavés

Formation 4-5-1

  • 1Pacheco
  • 21Aguirregabiria
  • 5Laguardia
  • 6MaripánBooked at 41mins
  • 3Duarte
  • 11Gómez
  • 22Wakaso
  • 16TorresBooked at 10minsSubstituted forMarínat 68'minutes
  • 19García Sánchez
  • 23Rodríguez MenéndezSubstituted forBastónat 68'minutes
  • 7SobrinoSubstituted forFranco Alvizat 71'minutes

Substitutes

  • 13Sivera
  • 14Franco Alviz
  • 15Navarro Jiménez
  • 17Marín
  • 18Bastón
  • 24Twumasi
  • 27Perera
Referee:
José María Sánchez Martínez
Attendance:
52,356

Match Stats

Home TeamBarcelonaAway TeamAlavés
Possession
Home79%
Away21%
Shots
Home25
Away3
Shots on Target
Home9
Away0
Corners
Home7
Away1
Fouls
Home6
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Barcelona 3, Alavés 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Barcelona 3, Alavés 0.

  3. Goal!

    Goal! Barcelona 3, Alavés 0. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Luis Suárez.

  4. Post update

    Offside, Barcelona. Ivan Rakitic tries a through ball, but Lionel Messi is caught offside.

  5. Post update

    Attempt saved. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Sergi Roberto.

  6. Post update

    Hand ball by Adrián Marín (Alavés).

  7. Post update

    Foul by Arthur (Barcelona).

  8. Post update

    Manu García (Alavés) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Post update

    Dangerous play by Luis Suárez (Barcelona).

  10. Post update

    Adrián Marín (Alavés) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Barcelona. Arturo Vidal replaces Sergio Busquets.

  12. Goal!

    Goal! Barcelona 2, Alavés 0. Coutinho (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Arthur.

  13. Post update

    Attempt saved. Coutinho (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lionel Messi with a through ball.

  14. Post update

    Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Guillermo Maripán.

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Adrián Marín (Alavés) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Ibai Gómez following a set piece situation.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona).

  17. Post update

    Burgui (Alavés) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  18. Post update

    Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Manu García (Alavés).

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Barcelona. Arthur replaces Ousmane Dembélé.

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Scores, Results & Fixtures

Saturday 18th August 2018

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Barcelona11003033
2Levante11003033
3Real Sociedad11002113
4Girona10100001
5Real Valladolid10100001
6Espanyol10101101
7Celta Vigo10101101
8Ath Bilbao00000000
9Atl Madrid00000000
10Eibar00000000
11Getafe00000000
12Huesca00000000
13Leganés00000000
14Rayo Vallecano00000000
15Real Madrid00000000
16Sevilla00000000
17Valencia00000000
18Villarreal100112-10
19Real Betis100103-30
20Alavés100103-30
View full Spanish La Liga table

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